For months, Russian propagandists have been preparing for a potential war by framing Ukraine and the West as aggressors. We compiled data from our weekly Hamilton 2.0 reports to shine a light on how Russian officials and state media have messaged around the crisis since November 2021, when Moscow’s troop buildup instigated widespread concern of a potential renewed invasion into Ukraine. Russia’s messaging is broken into narrative categories and organized chronologically. The five categories are: Ukraine and the West are planning a false flag operation; Ukraine is an extremist, puppet state; the West is to blame; Russia is innocent; and sanctions would be unwarranted.
Updated February 20, 2022.
Ukraine and the West are Planning a False Flag Operation
Even as Russia gathers troops at Ukraine’s border, the Kremlin’s messengers have been planting the seed that Ukraine and/or Western governments are planning a false flag operation to incite a conflict with Russia. Officials and state media have warned about Ukrainian/Western terrorist attacks, chemical weapons attacks, and sniper fire, among other alleged plans to provoke war.
- Russian-linked outlets first blamed the shelling of a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine on “Anglo-Saxon secret services” and then on the Ukrainian army. A Russian diplomat suggested the kindergarten was never attacked but a fake story used to make Russia look bad.
- State media reported on the Ukrainian army setting fire to towns, shelling villages, and failing to carry out multiple sabotage attempts.
- Kremlin-backed media reported on a car bomb that destroyed the vehicle of a Donetsk separatist leader. That car bomb was later shown to be staged.
- RIA Novosti said that Ukrainian and Western special services were preparing an “information provocation to launch large-scale hostilities,” which would involve framing Russia for launching a war.
- On February 17, Russian state media claimed that Ukraine had carried out a series of attacks, built up a large offensive force, and planned an amphibious assault.
- The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Western media’s “hysteria” about an alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine was laying the groundwork for a Western provocation.
- The Director of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin said that Ukrainian military and intelligence agencies were planning a provocation in Donbass, which could leverage “multinational jihadist militant squads.”
- RT ran an op-ed claiming that the United States regularly creates false flag pretexts to justify wars and invasions.
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry contacted Russian nationals in Ukraine to recommend they monitor the conflict closely and claimed that provocations by “autonomous actors” cannot be ruled out.
- State media claimed Ukraine was preparing to deploy paratroopers and sending an assault force to eastern Ukraine.
- Zvezda warned that more than 100 UK operatives were set to arrive in eastern Ukraine to help prepare the Ukrainian military for offensive actions.
- Sputnik claimed that the United States has been coordinating with Ukrainian paramilitaries and preparing to instigate a conflict, potentially using snipers.
- RT said that “Ukrainian commandos trained by Britain are planning a ‘series of terrorist attacks’ in the Donbass to use as cover for a false flag operation.”
- State media said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were planning “acts of subversion” in eastern Ukraine, which could include attacks on transformer substations, water and gas pipelines, power grids, and industrial facilities that handle hazardous chemicals.
- Russian Foreign Ministry warned that a U.S. or Ukrainian provocation could occur ahead of the Winter Olympics in China.
- Russia’s embassy in the United States said that the Biden administration was providing political and military support to Ukrainian neo-Nazis, giving them “’carte blanche’ for provocations.”
- RIA Novosti ran a headline claiming, “Kiev is preparing plans for armed provocations.”
- Russia’s messengers claimed that Western media coverage about Russia’s military buildup was meant to provide “an information cover” for the West’s own “large-scale provocations.”
- Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that U.S. private military companies were set to launch a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ukraine to incite a conflict.
- Websites affiliated with Russian intelligence claimed that U.S. military contractors are plotting a chemical attack and that Ukraine is preparing a “provocation” during the Olympics as a pretext for war.
- State media amplified claims that U.K. mercenaries were in Ukraine.
- Mikhail Delyagin, a member of the State Duma, warned that Ukraine could attack Russia as early as February. RIA Novosti circulated an argument that Russia would “defeat Ukraine in less than ten minutes.”
- Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed to have disrupted an attack planned by Ukrainian agents on Russian military sites.
- RT warned that “the risk of an all-out armed conflict in south-eastern Ukraine is extremely high.”
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested that the West could stage a provocation in Ukraine to justify its warning about the threat of a Russian invasion.
- Russian officials warned that accusations of Russian aggression toward Ukraine could be used to “conceal Kiev’s plans” to launch a military offensive.
- The Russian Security Council said there was an increased risk of Kyiv staging a provocation in Crimea, the Azov Sea, or the Black Sea.
Our analysis: “It would be unsurprising if Russia carried out a false-flag operation, as the Kremlin needs to justify this sad misadventure to its own population. What better way to do so than to invent more threats coming from the West?” Deputy Director David Salvo said.
Ukraine is an extremist, puppet state
Russian officials and state media have asserted that Ukraine is a near failed state, with politicians who are influenced by neo-Nazis and engaged in large-scale human rights abuses. Russian propagandists also claim that Ukraine is controlled by the West.
- President Vladimir Putin repeated his earlier claim that “what is happening in Donbass is genocide.”
- Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the West is “turning a blind eye” to a Ukrainian-created “humanitarian disaster in Donbass.”
- A RT reporter with a large Twitter following claimed that Western media “continues to whitewash, ignore, and downplay the influence of Neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine.”
- State media closely covered the evacuation of citizens from separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine, which was prompted by claims of a pending Ukrainian attack. Propogandists covered children in orphanages and schools fleeing as well as people lined up at ATMs and stuck in traffic.
- Zakharova said that the West was using Ukraine “for their own political interests.”
- RT claimed that the rise of Nazism in Ukraine cannot be hidden.
- Russia’s First Deputy Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that Ukraine was “openly” shelling “residential areas and killing and maiming civilians.”
- Russian officials called Ukraine a “pawn in an imperial game,” “a toy in the hands of the United States and NATO,” and “just an anti-Russian tool.”
- In a January 20 briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Ukrainian politicians were “corrupt” and have “lost control of the state – if it is still a state.” She argued that “there are no valid institutions of governance” in the country.
- Zakharova went on to claim that “Ukraine is not of much importance to the West” and is “only needed as a geopolitical prop.”
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a threat to the country.
- Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova argued that Ukraine had violated the Minsk agreements and attacked civilian targets.
- State media translated Putin’s claim that the conflict in eastern Ukraine “looked like a genocide” into at least six languages.
- Kremlin-linked accounts spread President Putin’s comment that Zelensky had been influenced by extremists and picked up claims that Kyiv ”will shoot” citizens with NATO weapons.
- Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added that NATO is “doing everything it can to destabilise” Europe, pointing directly to the blocs’ support for Ukrainian military personnel, which she said includes “downright neo-Nazis.”
- Russian officials claimed that Ukraine was experiencing “unprecedented corruption” and was on the brink of “completely losing economic stability.”
- Zakharova said that Ukrainian sanctions of on several pro-Russian TV channels was “total censorship, getting rid of unwanted media outlets and disenfranchising all dissent.”
- A Russian diplomat tweeted that “The Ukrainian authorities go back to the Stone Age,” in reference to legislation about the use of the Ukrainian language.
- Moscow-linked accounts accused Ukraine and the United States of glorifying Nazism after the two countries didn’t vote to adopt a Russian UN resolution.
- A Russian diplomat at the UN Office in Geneva, Alexander Alimov, posted an image of alleged Ukrainian Nazi’s wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.
- A Russian official claimed that Nazi collaborators are national heroes in Ukraine.
- State media portrayed Ukraine “on its knees” and belonging to Moscow.
- Dmitry Polyanskiy, a Russian representative at the UN, said that Kyiv had “chased away all those who dare tell the truth about Ukraine shelling and killing” people in Donbass.
Our analysis: “If you convince Westerners that they are supporting Nazis and not Ukrainian democracy, it’s harder for politicians to sell the idea of war or even of providing any support whatsoever [to Ukraine]. Looking back over the last three years, back to 2019, looking at our data, there’s been over 1,300 mentions [by Russian officials and state media] combining the terms Ukraine and Nazi in the same tweet,” Senior Fellow Bret Schafer said.
The West is to Blame
Russian diplomats and state media argue that the United States and NATO are responsible for escalating the chance of war in Ukraine. Kremlin-backed messengers contend that the West is pumping Ukraine full of weapons, encouraging militarism in Kyiv, and spreading anti-Russian propaganda. NATO is depicted as an offensive military alliance that broke a verbal agreement with Russia to stop expanding in the 1990s.
- Russian officials accused the West of spreading “war propaganda” and engaging in “information terrorism.”
- RT claimed the United States was pushing Ukraine into war to “sell American military-industrial products.”
- A Russian diplomat to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, retweeted a post that said the “West is funnelling weapons to Neo-Nazis in Ukraine so they can carry out a brutal war against Russian speaking minorities.”
- Russia’s Ambassador to the UN office in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, argued, “the US and its allies are exacerbating the situation to the point where the game of raising the stakes could turn into a real tragedy.”
- Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, “Anglo-Saxons need a war, at all costs.”
- The RT show Redacted Tonight tweeted that the “United States is a barbarous war fiend.”
- Russia’s ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said the United States was conducting an “information war against Russia.”
- RT highlighted Ukrainian forces training with UK-supplied missile systems.
- The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that “The US and NATO continue to deliver military aid to Ukraine, hampering the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Donbass.”
- On February 4, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova argued that the West “urgently need an opportunity to go to a virtual war” to distract from domestic problems. She also said the West was carrying out an “information and political campaign” to frame Russia as a threat to Ukraine.
- On February 1, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said the West wants to see war in Ukraine and is using media outlets to stoke tension.
- Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova argued that Kyiv “sees such [Western] assistance as carte blanche” to stage an attack in eastern Ukraine.
- Sputnik argued that Ukraine was “flooded with US, NATO weapons and advisers.”
- The Kremlin blamed Western media for creating hysteria around the Russian military buildup.
- Lavrov claimed that the United States was using Ukraine to “escalate tensions around Russia to close the issue and then deal with China.”
- State media noted that while the West is shipping equipment to Ukraine, “Kiev will fight alone.” RT ran an op-ed that argued, “Washington would be ready to turn Ukraine into hell on Earth if only it can embarrass Russia.”
- On the week of January 17, Russian state media framed the West as being solely responsible for increasing the chance of war in Ukraine.
- RT, Sputnik, and others closely followed shipments of Western military aid to the country.
- Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN tweeted, “NATO came to our borders and not vice versa. We simply demand that it goes back and deters itself.”
- Russian officials and state media pointed to NATO expansion and its mission in Libya to push back on claims that the alliance was defensive in nature.
- Russian-backed accounts continued to portray NATO as an aggressor that is pushing Ukraine into war.
- Russia’s lead negotiator Sergey Ryabkov vented that Moscow was “fed-up with loose talk” and wanted “bulletproof, legally binding guarantees” from the United States and NATO.
- After the negotiations, state media claimed that NATO ignored Russia’s offers to de-escalate tension, and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko argued that NATO had reverted to a Cold War strategy of “containment” toward Russia and is seeking “full spectrum dominance.”
- President Putin rhetorically asked, “Are we deploying missiles near the US border?” The Russian president claimed, “we are not the threat” and noted that NATO “should give us guarantees.”
- RT published an op-ed arguing that “there will be no peace in Europe” until the United States and NATO comply with Russian demands to stop NATO expansion and rollback military equipment.
- Russian officials rehashed debates about NATO’s first round of expansion, arguing that the alliance misled Russian leaders about its willingness to move east.
- Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested NATO was attempting to provoke a “little war” in Ukraine in order to justify sanctions that would limit Russia’s competitiveness on the world stage.
- The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that NATO is preparing for a large-scale conflict with Russia.
- Russian propagandists said NATO is taking “reckless and irresponsible behavior,” “pushing Kiev toward aggressive steps,” and disregarding Ukraine’s “large-scale violations of human rights.”
- Kremlin-funded accounts accused the United States and United Kingdom of “artificially fanning hysteria” around the conflict, and they argued that this “is not the first time” that Western outlets have warned of a Russian military offensive.
- Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov repeatedly accused NATO of escalating the situation.
- State media picked up U.S. President Joe Biden’s statement that he wouldn’t recognize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s red line around Ukraine joining NATO.
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry put out a document claiming to debunk “myths” about NATO-Russia relations, which framed the security alliance as undermining regional stability and threatening Russia.
- The Foreign Ministry tweeted that it is “futile” to suggest Russia has no right to veto new NATO members.
- Diplomatic accounts claimed that NATO expansion is an “anti-European idea” driven by the United States.
- Russian officials and state media blamed the “’collective West’ under the leadership of the USA” for tensions along the Ukrainian border, where there has been a buildup of Russian troops.
- RT tweeted that “Washington seeks to ignite conflict in eastern Ukraine.”
- On November 27, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, said the United States had launched a “malicious propaganda” operation meant to push Ukraine into a military conflict with Russia.
- An SVR statement claimed that “officials in Washington have been actively intimidating the world community by alleging Russia is preparing for ‘aggression’ against Ukraine.”
- Referring to Western support for Ukraine, the SVR statement, as reported by RT’s Russian-language website, said Russia “observed a similar situation in Georgia on the eve of the events of 2008,” a nod to Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
- President Putin’s speech to the Foreign Ministry Collegium accused the West of “exacerbating” the Ukrainian conflict by providing arms to Kyiv.
- Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued that Moscow would not ignore the “gross provocations” from NATO. State media echoed that point, with one outlet claiming the United Kingdom’s arms sale to Ukraine was “abject idiocy.”
- Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused NATO of spreading “propaganda” to convince people that “Russia and its ‘aggressive’ behavior are the source of instability on the continent.”
- Foreign Minister Lavrov wondered if NATO was elevating tension “just to distract public attention from other problems.”
- Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s warning that Russia should not repeat the “2014 mistake,” referring to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
- The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom promoted the idea that Western efforts to supply Ukraine with arms “only encourages a solution by force.”
- Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused U.S. media outlets of launching a “full-blown fresh fake campaign,” filled with “panic attack-imbued materials” about the troop movements.
Our analysis: “Russian messengers have long promoted narratives meant to justify Russian aggression, while simultaneously positioning the Kremlin as an almost unwitting actor being driven towards war by the West. It is clear that the Kremlin is both creating the pretext for war and attempting to lay blame for its actions elsewhere, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,” Senior Fellow Bret Schafer said.
Russia is Innocent
Kremlin-backed messengers have made a concerted push to frame Russia as a victim and to deny allegations the Moscow is spreading disinformation, preparing a false flag, or carrying out cyberattacks. This campaign includes efforts to discredit Western intelligence agencies and media. It also includes repeated claims that Russia is seeking a diplomatic solution, rather than a military one.
- Russian officials argued that Moscow would “do everything within its power to prevent a war,” and state media circulated videos of Russian military equipment returning to their bases after exercises.
- RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said Russia would intervene “only with the aim of ending the war in Ukraine, and not starting it.”
- Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued, “We’re not threatening anyone…We’re the ones being threatened.”
- The Kremlin denied being involved with a cyberattack that impacted the websites of multiple Ukrainian government agencies and banks.
- State-backed outlets shared videos of Russian troops and military equipment leaving Crimea after military exercises, despite the U.S. and NATO saying Russia was continuing to build its troop presence.
- Sputnik amplified the Kremlin’s claim that it was not involved in a cyberattack against various Ukrainian government websites and banks.
- Russian officials and state-backed media mocked Western outlets for predicting that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would begin on February 16.
- On February 4, Zakharova said that a UK warning about Russia attempting to install a pro-Kremlin regime in Kyiv was meant to “fan anti-Russia hysteria.”
- Foreign Minister Lavrov refuted a U.S. warning about Russian plans to use a fake video as a pretext to invade Ukraine.
- The Russian embassy in the United States claimed the U.S. warning about the fake video was “typical of the United State” and pointed to U.S. intelligence failures around Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
- A Russian representative at the United Nations and state media attempted to discredit the U.S. warning about the video by comparing it to weapons of U.S. claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- Kremlin-backed outlets pointed to a tense back-and-forth between a U.S. official and an AP reporter about evidence behind U.S. claims of Russian disinformation.
- President Putin claimed that Moscow is seeking to prevent any escalation around Ukraine.
- On January 28, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “If it depends on Russia, there will be no war.” A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry added, “We consider unacceptable even the idea of war.”
- Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council, argued that “Russia is not threatening Ukraine in anyway.”
- Russian state media pushed back against a UK warning that Russia was plotting to install a pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv.
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the U.K. statement “disinformation.”
- The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom said the allegations were “dumb and dangerous.”
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed the United Kingdom’s comments were “unfounded” and meant to escalate tensions.
- State media gave limited coverage of U.S. sanctions against four current and former Ukrainian officials for being involved in an alleged Russian conspiracy to install a pro-Moscow government in Kyiv.
- Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said a U.S. State Department document about Russian propaganda was filled with “passages of simply inhuman lies” that only the “Ministry of Truth” could publish.
- The Russian Foreign Ministry also put out tweets countering each claim in the State Department report.
- Russia’s embassy in the United States said that a U.S. claim that Russia was planning a false flag operation was “unfounded and cannot have any confirmation.”
- Russian officials denied launching cyberattacks that defaced dozens of Ukrainian government websites, leaving them with a message reading, “Be afraid and expect the worst.”
- State media highlighted initial struggles attributing the hack to anyone.
- Russian propagandists seized on Ukrainian officials claiming Belarusian intelligence was behind the hack before assigning blame to Russia.
- RT and others celebrated Russian intelligence operatives arresting members of the notorious REvil ransomware crew.
- President Putin argued that “We are not threatening anyone. They are the ones who came to our borders.”
- A Russian senator insisted that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine.
- Russia’s Mission to the UN tweeted that allegations of Russia threatening Ukraine were “born in the heads of some politicians; therefore, it should die in the heads of those politicians.”
- Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Escalating a confrontation with Russia is unacceptable” and claimed that NATO is threatening Russia.
- Russian officials rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claim that the Kremlin was helping to orchestrate a coup against him.
- President Putin dismissed U.S. warnings that the Kremlin could be preparing for a new military operation in Ukraine, and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the comments were groundless.
- Lavrov leaked communications with top French and German diplomats about Ukraine in an attempt to show that Moscow was cooperative. When asked about the leak, Lavrov explained, “We are all human. You could say they got to me.”
- Sputnik said Moscow was making a diplomatic effort to ensure that Kiev does not lose its ‘mind’ about the situation in Donbass.”
Our analysis: “This is a tried-and-true Russian tactic of using diplomacy to say that they’re the good guys, in spite of their maximalist demands, that [they’re] able to go to their people and say, ‘look, we tried everything. The West is a security threat, and so this is why we’re taking these actions,’” Deputy Director David Salvo told Vox.
Sanctions would be unwarranted and hurt the West
Moscow-backed messengers have asserted that Western economic retaliation against Russia would be unjustified and would hurt both the European energy market and the global financial system. Russia has made a particular effort to promote and defend the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russian propagandists have also claimed that Moscow wouldn’t be greatly impacted by sanctions.
- A Russian diplomat said that lawmakers threatening sanctions “have lost all touch with reality,” adding that such sanctions would “mage the stability of the international finance system itself, as well as global economic recovery.”
- State media also dismissed the threat of Western sanctions, arguing that Russia will be able to defend its economy.
- Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted in Sputnik saying that there is a protective “barrier to sanctions in Russia.”
- Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Germany was an “occupied state” taking orders from the United States about its energy policy.
- A RT tweet argued that sanctioning Nord Stream 2 would present “a strong internal risk” to Europe,” since the continent doesn’t have other reliable sources of energy.
- State media claimed that Russia has built up resilience to Western sanctions, but the European Union remains dependent on Russian gas.
- Russian officials and state media shared a comment by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban about sanctions against Russia hurting Budapest more than Moscow.
- RT claimed that Western sanctions on Russia would hurt the Ukrainian economy.
- RIA Novosti and others highlighted that Russia and China are coordinating efforts to counter Western sanctions.
- Federation Council Deputy Speaker Nikolay Zhuravlev warned that if Russia was cut from the Swift financial system, Europe would not receive Russian oil, gas, or metals.
- State media amplified a New York Times article, which said sanctions on Russia could damage the stock market, and a Bloomberg article, which claimed the banking sector was wary of sanctions.
- Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said the U.S. drive to sell its own natural gas was behind the potential sanctions.
- State-connected media picked up arguments from German politicians against sanctions on the pipeline.
- State media amplified Democratic lawmakers’ warning that penalizing entities associated with the gas line could damage U.S.-German relations.
- A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry claimed that Nord Stream 2 was economically beneficial for Russia, Germany, and all of Europe.
- Lavrov called a separate U.S. proposal to sanction Russia if tension escalated around Ukraine a “nervous breakdown.”
- State media circulated comments from the German defense minister urging that policymakers avoid linking Nord Stream 2 to the Ukrainian conflict and highlighted a German lawmaker’s suggestion that U.S. opposition to Nord Stream 2 was driven by Washington’s desire to sell its own gas to Europe.
- Lavrov said the debate around Nord Stream 2 reflected Berlin’s lack of economic independence.
- State media picked up comments from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the potential blowback of new Russian sanctions and reported that Scholz turned down a call with Biden.
- RT noted that the Kremlin warned that new sanctions on Russia would be a “colossal mistake” that would lead to a “complete breakdown” of relations between Washington and Moscow.
- Foreign Minister Lavrov said that cooperation with Western partners will not work if they use “unfair practices” such as “illegal sanctions.”
- State media used surging gas prices in Europe to push for Germany’s approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
- RT argued delaying Nord Stream 2’s launch could “further spur prices” and elevated comments by an Austrian official who said Germany risks “a complete loss of credibility” if it caves to U.S. pressure on the pipeline.
- Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova argued that the United State was obsessed with sanctioning Nord Stream 2, which would be “illegitimate and hurt the interests of the United States itself.”
- President Putin claimed that efforts to sanction Russia were based on “unfounded accusations” and undermined the political, economic and humanitarian benefits of working with Russia.
- Russia’s ambassador to the United States called all attempts to sanction Russian oil and gas “unfair competition, undermining the free market principles.”
- Tass reported on the Kremlin saying that potential U.S. sanctions against Nord Stream 2 would be “illegal and wrong especially in light of the attempts at re-establishing the previously lost dialogue between both countries.”
- A Russian diplomat argued that Nord Stream 2 was aimed at “protecting European energy security” and ridiculed U.S. gas exports as “molecules of freedom.”
Our analysis: “Everything about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been a victory for Russia. Given that Russia’s aim is to split everybody, if they’re seeking to break apart unity in the European Union and in NATO, this pipeline has been a wonderful vessel,” Senior Fellow Kristine Berzina told CNN.