EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), a civilian monitoring mission, which operates in Georgia since 2008, became the target of organized disinformation and discrediting campaign from Kremlin actors. The new wave of the disinformation launched after the occupational regime of South Ossetia detained EU monitors on the ground of “violation of the state border” on October 24. After a while, on November 6, KGB of South Ossetia accused Georgia of opening fire and warned about the threat of armed clashes alongside the “border”. After the incident and the claims from South Ossetian KGB, Russian state-sponsored media and related political analysts exploited following disinformation narratives against EU and EUMM:
- Brussels, together with Tbilisi and Washington wages information warfare against South Ossetia;
- EU monitors turn a blind eye on provocations from the Georgian side;
- EUMM encourages Georgia’s provocations and destructive actions;
- Georgia uses EUMM to provoke South Ossetia’s inadequate behaviour;
- EUMM patrols violated the state border between Georgia and South Ossetia, an act that was a provocation;
According to EUvsDisinfo, the flagship project of the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force, these narratives aim at undermining the international credibility of the mission by questioning its impartiality. The main orchestrators of this campaign were Russian state-sponsored Sputnik’s edition of South Ossetia and South Ossetia’s “government information agency” RES.
EU response: “factually incorrect”
EU has released several statements in the response to the claims disseminated by Kremlin media. In its statement on detention of EUMM patrols, EUMM denied that the patrols violated any kind of “border” and declared that the incident happened “in an area understood to be on Tbilisi-Administered Territory in accordance with the traditional interpretation of the Administrative Boundary Line in that area.”
Then, on November 7, EUMM dismissed all allegations of Sputnik Ossetia on opening fire from the Georgian side. The press release further stated that EUMM itself imitated the Hotline to seek clarification when allegations emerged in statements and in the media.
These statements were followed by the statement of European Union External Action disapproving the rising tensions alongside Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) of breakaway South Ossetia in Georgia and assessing the claims disseminated in media as “factually incorrect”.
The EU’s Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia was launched on 1 October 2008 in the aftermath of 2008 August war between Georgia and Russia. EUMM has the mandate to support the restoration of ordinary life, prevent a return to hostilities, build confidence among conflict parties and inform about the EU policy.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of
Georgia have soon been recognized as independent states by Russia after the
war. EU and the US fully support Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Even the war and armed clashes has ended,
Russia continues its policy of creeping occupation – erects barbed-wire fences
and kidnaps Georgian citizens from their villages.