Ministry of Defence has noticed false news stories about international military exercise Summer Shield XIV being spread on the media in an apparent attempt to intimidate public. Military training is taking place between April 17 and April 30 in Ādaži Military Base.
Internet portal ‘BaltNews.lv’ recently published an article titled Independent Newspaper: NATO may be testing new techniques of psychological warfare in Ādaži. Portal claims that several German job recruitment agencies were actively hiring Russian-speaking extras/role players for military training during a hiring campaign in March of this year. Lt Gen Yury Netkachev, a Russian military expert, claims that NATO’s commanders are most likely recruiting such extras to test new techniques of hybrid warfare by subjecting these Russian-speaking individuals to a new physical, biological and other methods aimed at altering human psyche and behaviour. Russian expert also claims that similar military training, involving these techniques, might take place in other NATO countries and the USA. He also claims that the likelihood of such techniques being used during the on-going training in Latvia is high.
‘BaltNews.lv’ also quotes Russian sources which claim that Summer Shield XIV training is clearly anti-Russian. In other words, claims are that NATO are conducting military training in Latvia to prepare for an attack on Russia.
Russian portal 3mv.ru has published similar statements. The name of the portal is an abbreviation of ‘World War III’ in Russian or третья мировая война. According to the portal, NATO is preparing its European forces for an attack on Russia by rolling out a series of exercise, and international training Summer Shield XIV in Ādaži is one of such activities targeting Russia.
Media have recently been flooded with fake news as there has been a growing number of false reports on other NATO activities and different situations involving troops of allied forces.
One of the most blatant examples of propaganda is a news story posted on Lithuanian BNS page on April 12. The article claimed that U.S. troops have suffered from mustard gas poisoning in Latvia. The story, published in Lithuanian and Russian versions of the portal, pointed out that mustard gas stockpiles buried on the bottom of the Baltic Sea can be considered an ecological bomb and only Kremlin knows when it will go off. The source of the story was not editorial team of BNS.
Another false story was published on the web-page of Russian news agency regnum.ru. It claimed that three U.S. soldiers have tried to pull a 19-year old girl, an inhabitant of Polish town Zagan, into a dark alley on the night of 9 April. A man who came to girl’s rescue was severely beaten by the soldiers. It was also reported that American soldiers were drunk.
Ministry of Defence would like to remind that the aim of such propaganda is to undermine public trust in NATO, and troops of allied forces, through use of unverified information affecting hearts and minds of the people.
NATO Multinational battle group led by Canada, which is expected to arrive in Latvia this June, may also become a target of similar false accusations.
Therefore, people in Latvia are encouraged to fact-check the populist attempts to spread misinformation in the Latvian media space.
Ministry would also like to urge local media to be alert to any false facts to avoid becoming a channel for such defamatory attacks by spreading unverified and unchecked information fed by suspicious sources.
Media Relations Section
MILITARY PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia
Phone: (+371) 6 7335045