Attacks with chemical weapons and Russian disinformation efforts often go hand in hand. In this case, after the April 7, 2018 chemical attack in Syria, RussiaToday (RT) published photographs of the victims on its site while disseminating Russian military's claims that there was no attack and the photographs were staged by White Helmets.
On Western Christmas when too few outside of Moscow and Kyiv are paying close attention, the Moscow media has filled up with stories that the Ukrainian military is preparing to launch a chemical weapons attack against the breakaway regions of Ukraine’s Donbas. Yandex news lists 82 such stories as of 1400 EST.
All of the stories rely on a report from Eduard Basurin, the deputy chief of the popular militia of the “DNR,” and almost without exception they appear to have been written or broadcast to stir up anti-Ukrainian hysteria. (For examples, see: rg.ru, gazeta.ru, новости-донбасса.ru-an.info and lenta.ru)
There is no other confirmation of Basurin’s claims. What makes this media explosion of charges against Ukraine especially worrisome, as Pavel Felgenhauer has pointed out, is that Russian officials often charge others in advance with doing exactly what Moscow is planning to do itself.
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