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


Opening remarks

  1. Help us crush the Russian propaganda machine
  2. Joke of the week

Policy & Research  

  1. Violation of ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. The “people’s republics” of Russia

U.S. Developments  

  1. Biden’s unscripted remark – Putin “cannot remain in power” 
  2. How the United States is holding Russia and Belarus accountable

Kremlin’s Current Narrative 

  1. Russia blames Azerbaijan for violating the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire. 
  2. The Kremlin claims that in the long game China is ready to confront the United States.

Taipei news

Facebook Twitter

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

Help us crush the Russian propaganda machine!


Joke of this week

Source: Twitter @GloriaCaldas3 

Policy & Research

Violation of ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

According to Moscow, tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh are rising due to Azerbaijani troops striking Karabakh troops with Turkish-made drones, and entering the area supervised by Russian peacekeepers to install an observation post, violating the November 2020 peace agreement. The Russian Defense Ministry has pressured Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops and called for compliance with tripartite agreements established due to the war over the disputed region that cost more than 6,500 lives. Similar incidents have occurred regularly in recent months, but this is the first time the Kremlin has officially acknowledged them, while Azerbaijani authorities deny the allegations.


The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when ethnic Armenian separatists broke away from Azerbaijan, causing some 30,000 deaths. On Saturday, Armenian authorities said the area had been subjected to continuous shelling ahead of an operation they called an "invasion" of the village of Parukh by Azerbaijani armed forces. In addition, gas supplies to Karabakh were cut off by Azerbaijan due to repair work, giving Armenian authorities reason to speculate that the decision was deliberate to target the Armenian community in the region. Yerevan also stated that they expect Russia to be more proactive in the peace mission, taking measures to prevent further incidents and ultimately stabilize the situation in the South Caucasus.

The “people’s republics” of Russia

Southern Ukraine is experiencing what the Kremlin already tested in 2014 in the Donbas region: local elected officials in key areas in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions are being removed from power by Russian forces, to be replaced by "new authorities." At the same time, an increasing number of Ukrainian protesters in Russian-controlled areas are being arrested or disappearing. The second phase of the operation, following this model, would be the establishment of illegitimate referendums to certify the new authorities as "people's republics", only recognized by Russia to consolidate the pro-Kremlin structure and create pseudo-states. The same process has seen the Russian Duma recently recognize the independence of the "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk, giving Putin the infamous pretext for the invasion. Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, had already warned that this strategy would be applied in Kherson, but the evidence is not yet sufficient to support the claim.


This will depend on what Russia decides to do with that area specifically, whether it will try to use the "people's republic" method to create a logistical corridor between the Donbas and Crimea or whether it will decide to use the Kherson area as an exchange in negotiations with Kyiv. A month into the war, Russia is having trouble with persistent Ukrainian resistance and a lack of leading figures it can trust with new government structures, according to an Estonian intelligence report. In addition, the planned rapid regime change in Kyiv has not been achieved, stalemate is evident, and a scaling back of the "operation" is necessary for the Kremlin to salvage any claim to victory by limiting its ambitions for control of the Donbas and Crimea at least for now.

U.S. Developments

Biden’s unscripted remark – Putin “cannot remain in power”

On Saturday, the US President, Joe Biden, delivered a speech on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Warsaw after the three-day meetings in Poland. The speech aimed at rallying the US allies to be “clear-eyed” in the “battle between democracy and autocracy.” The most important part of the speech was Biden’s statement about Vladimir Putin that he “cannot remain in power” after launching the war in Ukraine. The US President has previously called Putin a killer, a pure thug, a war criminal, and a butcher, but he had never advocated regime change. This statement immediately caused international reverberations. It was criticized by France’s President Emmanuel Macron who assessed the statement as “escalating”. Biden’s statement was criticized by multiple experts and some high-ranking Republican senators. 


All of them stated that this remark would jeopardize all the efforts to stop the war in Ukraine and aggravate the situation. The statement was also assessed as Biden’s “horrendous gaffe”. The US President’s remark was further explained by the White House. According to a White House official, Biden's this remark did not mean Putin's deposal from the power and the statement pointed out that "Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours." Further clarifications were made by Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who denied any "strategy of regime change in Russia." It is noteworthy that Biden's statement created fertile ground for Russian propaganda. The Kremlin can use this remark as a confirmation of the US’s hostility towards Russia and blame the West for pushing the war.

How the United States is holding Russia and Belarus accountable

The United States has taken measures along with its partners and allies to punish the Russian Federation and the Lukashenka regime in Belarus for their aggression against Ukraine. The measures adopted by the Biden administration comprised sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and sovereign wealth fund, restrictions on Russia finding funding for the war beyond its borders, choking off Russian imports of key technologies, and the sanctions against Russian and Belarusian elites’ assets and financial networks. In particular, the restrictions were adopted on Belarus to choke off its import of technological goods by limiting its and Russia's ability to obtain materials that they need for the war as well as to divert items, software, and technologies from Belarus to Russia. Moreover, the sanctions targeted Russian defence entities to curb Russian weapon development and production. 


The target of the US's sanctions became the entities that supported Russian and Belarusian security sectors and military forces. In addition, the US closed its airspace to all Russian flights and prohibited Russian aircraft to enter and using the US domestic airspace. Besides, the sanctions were adopted on technology exports in the oil refining sector to degrade Russia’s status as a leading energy supplier. They also targeted Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and Russia’s largest banks as well removed Russia from the SWIFT system. Furthermore, the US has imposed sanctions on 24 Belarusian individuals, two significant Belarusian state-owned banks, nine defence firms, and seven officials and elites close to the Lukashenka regime. But, it is noteworthy that the Belarusian opposition firmly supports Ukraine. During her call with Joe Biden, the Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said that “Belarusians fearlessly stand alongside the people of Ukraine.”

Kremlin's Current Narrative

Russia blames Azerbaijan for violating the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire.

TASS reports the Azerbaijani armed forces entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, inflicted four strikes by an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Bayraktar TB-2 type on units of the armed formations of Nagorno-Karabakh in the settlement of Furukh, according to a message on the website of the Russian Defense Ministry. "Between March 24 to March 25, the armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, violating the provisions of the tripartite statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia from November 9, 2020, entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and set up an observation post," claimed the Russian defence ministry. The Ministry of Defense reported that the command of the Russian contingent is taking measures to resolve the situation and return the troops to their original position. 


Earlier, Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Peskov commented on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh claiming that Putin and Pashinyan discussed the situation in Karabakh twice by phone. According to the Kremlin, the head of the Armenian Cabinet called the situation tense and stressed the need for the Russian peacekeepers to return the Azerbaijani armed forces to their original positions. On Monday, March 28, Dmitry Peskov stated that the main task is to ensure the implementation of the ceasefire regime by all parties. However, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry denied Russia’s statements and stated that units of the republic's armed forces did not leave the village of Farrukh in Karabakh. The escalation of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh creates a favourable condition for Russia's strategic interests to preserve the status quo - hegemon position in the post-Soviet region. Thus, the Kremlin does not miss the opportunity to take advantage of the Armenian military vulnerabilities aiming at closer integration of Armenia with Russia.

The Kremlin claims that in the long game China is ready to confront the United States.

The Kremlin claimed that smart people back in the last century knew that the world would soon be completely different, non-Western - apparently Asian. Moscow stressed that in Washington regarding this, a new team of people with a new tougher foreign policy towards China has taken their place. Moscow added that the most important thing is that Beijing knows this very well. Moreover, the Kremlin expressed confidence that it is rather meaningless to talk about on which side China is in the economic war unleashed against Russia by the West. TASS reports Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed in a conversation with US President Joe Biden that the Chinese authorities intend to take an independent position on the issue of Ukraine and consider the West's total sanctions against Russia as "anti-people." Russia claims that for the people of the White House, the United States is a power in decline, while China is on the rise.


Moreover, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with RIA Novosti and RT claimed that the unipolar world ended and the USA is no longer the master of the planet Earth. Medvedev specified that the way the United States of America behaves in the world is explained by the fact that at some point they thought that they no longer had any competitors. “But they are wrong because life does not stand still, international relations are developing, countries are growing and developing. And therefore, it is obvious that new poles in international relations will be formed. There is the People's Republic of China, there is India, and finally, there is the Russian Federation,” emphasized Medvedev. In addition to this, Medvedev expressed his discontent with how Russians are treated by Europe. “It seems that all of Europe has united, even those countries that we considered friends, partners, in some kind of huge hatred for our country…Europeans, who have always declared themselves very tolerant, adhered to the principles of democracy, as they said, they allow themselves such statements about Russia and Russians, the leaders of the country,” stated Medvedev.

Taipei News

The National Development Council, the Taiwanese cabinet's policy planning body, unveiled a roadmap for the nation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The government anticipates increasing the share of renewables in electricity to generation to between 60 and 70 per cent and reducing reliance on thermoelectricity power generation which requires the use of fossil fuels. NDC stated that the net-zero goals were defined to increase Taiwan's competitiveness and ensure environmental sustainability while enhancing the nation's energy security and resilience. The newly-announced roadmap complements President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration’s strategy to boost renewable energy to 20 per cent by 2025. Forward-looking partnerships in the energy sector have constituted an important area for cooperation between Taiwan and Europe. European companies have contributed to the development of a robust wind energy supply chain in Taiwan. At the same time, roadblocks remain. European stakeholders allege that Taiwan’s local content requirements for offshore wind farms contravene World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and call on the Taiwanese government to reconsider its strict requirements for domestic over foreign input.


Lithuania has formally applied to open a representative office in Taiwan. Relations between Vilnius and Taipei have followed an upward trajectory since medical diplomacy outreach started in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and witnessed sustained institutionalization under the government of Ingrida Šimonytė. Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė stated, “We are fully ready to open a Lithuanian trade office. [I] just sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, so that we could receive the official certificate so that we can open it officially, but the preparatory work is already being conducted. And we are fully ready now.” The Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius officially commenced its operations in November 2021. It is the first de facto embassy of Taiwan in Europe—and second globally, after Somaliland—to operate under the name “Taiwanese," rather than “Taipei.”



Elita Khmelidze                          Eleonora Sobrero                      Aidana Zhakypbekova

Do you like our work?

Our effort to protect liberal democracy across Europe is dependent on private donations.

Support us

Support us!

You can support us by clicking to donate money via our website, transfer your money to our transparent bank account 2300405420/2010 or simply by scanning the QR code within your internet banking app. Thank you.



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 

Facebook Twitter

European Values Center for Security Policy

Facebook Twitter Youtube