Last week's events concerning the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign


Opening remarks  

  1. Don’t miss out on our latest publication!
  2. Soviet Joke

Policy & Research  

  1. Zelensky's accusation of Russian backed coup
  2. Germany urges Congress not to sanction Nordstream 2 

U.S. Developments  

  1. The US says "all options" are on the table over a military building-up near Ukraine
  2. Russian Military Tracks U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer in the Black Sea 

Kremlin’s Current Narrative 

  1. Tit for tat: NATO calls for Russian transparency, so Kremlin calls NATO holier-than-thou
  2. Kremlin argues that Kyiv wants to break the Minsk agreement

Taipei News

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Good Old Soviet Joke

Why can’t you commit suicide in Soviet Russia?

Because it would be a destruction of government property.

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Policy & Research

Zelensky's accusation of Russian backed coup

In a meeting with journalists, Ukraine's president revealed that his administration received intelligence of a possible Russia-backed coup on December the 1st involving Ukraine's richest oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. Although Zelensky did not directly accuse Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded immediately to the information stating that "this is not how Russia acts." 

Akhmetov also denied the claims as false, insisting that he supports Ukraine's territorial integrity of a future with Crimea and Donbas. The timing of this new development is very troubling, given the recent Russian troop buildup near Ukraine's border. Tensions between Russia and the West are high, and any escalation could lead to conflict. Russia especially sees any destabilization as a perfect way to gain strategic leverage and influence over Ukraine.

Germany urges Congress not to sanction Nordstream 2

Germany's government has urged members of US Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline saying it will damage US credibility within the region. President Biden opposes the pipeline but stated that he would not place sanctions on it given the US' strategic partnership with Germany. 

The planned pipeline will pass through Ukraine and directly supply Germany with gas during a critical period. Ukraine has argued against its construction, stating that it will create a threat to its national security. Given the current energy crisis, Russia has been strategically weaponizing Gazprom's gas supplies. It has been able to gain economic leverage over European affairs, and the bypass of sanctions could allow it to expand its sphere of influence.

U.S. Developments

The US says "all options" are on the table over a military building-up near Ukraine

The US State Department’s top US diplomat for European affairs on Friday said that all options were on the table regarding how to respond to Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine. Assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Karen Donfried’s remarks come as the NATO alliance will consult on Tuesday on its next moves in response to the Russian buildup. 

US President Joe Biden reaffirmed last Wednesday his “unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” adding that he would seek to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin to try and defuse tensions in the region. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Friday that Russia had assembled combat-ready troops, tanks and military equipment and cautioned Moscow that any force against Ukraine would incur consequences. 

According to an article from the Military Times, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence reported that Russia has amassed more than 92,000 troops and could be preparing for an attack by the end of January or the beginning of February. Moscow has dismissed any suggestions about a possible invasion, calling them “malicious.” 

Russian Military Tracks U.S. Guided Missile Destroyer in the Black Sea

Russia’s military tracked the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke after it entered the Black Sea to patrol with NATO allies according to Russian state media TASS. The US Sixth Fleet said that the USS Arleigh Burke entered the Black Sea on a routine patrol with its NATO allies. This patrol came a day after Russia said it conducted military drills in the region. 

The movement of the destroyer comes at a time of high tension in the region with suspicions about Russia contemplating an invasion of Ukraine. Russia, Ukraine, and NATO have all been conducting military drills in recent weeks as a result. Russia denies these suspicions. Ukraine is not a NATO member but has moved towards the West’s orbit since the conflict in the region began in 2014. It benefits from US backing including defence aid, patrol vessels and anti-tank weapons. The Arleigh Burke’s mission follows a similar visit by the USS Mount Whitney to the Black Sea earlier this month. 

Kremlin's Current Narrative

Tit for tat: NATO calls for Russian transparency, so Kremlin calls NATO holier-than-thou

One recent RT article serves as a response to NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg comments that a proposal to hold a Russia-NATO remains in effect since the bloc is in favour of maintaining a dialogue. Stoltenberg also called on Russia to be more transparent and noted NATO preparation for Russian military aggression. As RT reports, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov emphasised that NATO only wants to "lecture us" and discuss Ukraine, "whipping up propaganda" and "pressuring us". 

The article asserts that "the alliance has taken steps that cast doubt on bilateral cooperation” and claims that this is done in a "search for identity". Overall, due to NATO's policy which is "focused exclusively on its interests", Russia-NATO relations "are at the lowest point since the Cold War", with a similar attitude to that time which promotes "anti-Russian sentiment" in the West and hinders the chance of cooperation.

Kremlin argues that Kyiv wants to break the Minsk agreement

Another recent RT article on the Minsk agreement claims that Ukraine is actively sabotaging its integrity. The article responds to Ukrainian MoD comments on Russia's "apparent intransigence" of the agreement and retorts by arguing, based on Lavrov's comments, that Ukraine, Germany and France are trying to change the status quo in favour of Kyiv, and "the West is more interested in putting pressure in Russia than resolving the crisis in Ukraine". 

Indeed, as RT would have it, it is the West that is violating the Minsk agreement and Russia which is the innocent party – meanwhile, the situation in Donbas is "only getting worse". Rather than an alternate reality that RT builds in its reports, the West is forming "an alternative reality in which all of Kyiv's miscalculations and illegal actions are Moscow's fault". 

Taipei News

The Senate of the Irish Republic passed a water-shedding resolution concerning Taiwan this week. The upper chamber of the parliament voted on a text supporting Taiwan's participation in various international organizations and, at the same time, condemning China’s violations in the area of human rights. The motion states clearly that the Senate refuses any “improper interference” that is attempting to weaken the cooperation of Irish MPs with the Taiwanese government and people, and strongly condemns and criticizes any attempts to prevent Taipei from participating in international organizations or humanitarian initiatives. In particular terms, the text includes passages that call on the Irish government to maintain support for Taiwanese people and their political freedoms, while continuing to oppose China’s human rights violations and treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.  Last but not least, it emphasizes that Ireland rejects the possibility of China unifying with Taiwan by using force anytime in the future. This resolution by a legislature of a state that had not belonged to the loud ones regarding the sensitive issue of Taiwan further proves that the momentum in the international community is slowly changing.

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Kremlin Watch is a strategic program of the European Values Center for Security Policy, which aims to expose and confront instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against the liberal-democratic system.

For comments. suggestions or media inquiries, please contact the Head of the Kremlin Watch Program Veronika Víchová at 

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