Original title on Sputnik RS: US jets that bombed us are approaching Serbia
Original title on B29, where Sputnik is cited as a source: US bombers that attacked Serbia are back in region
The headline of the text published by Sputnik and the Serbian media is manipulative and intimidating, while the text is very contradictive and speculative. The Serbian National TV “B92” is broadcasting part of the news released by Sputnik on Serbian language, earlier the same day. The author of the text claims that B-1B bombers will participate in the military drill and drop bombs on the Military Range “Krivolak”, whereas as a source of information are citing certain military analyst from Serbia by name Aleksandar Radic. Furthermore, the analyst argues that these bombers are expected to arrive in North Macedonia from the military base of the Royal Air Forces (RAF) “Fairford” located in the United Kingdom, while the participation of these aircrafts in the military exercise has a symbolic message about the American supremacy in the region for Serbia. Finally, in the Sputnik’s article, the analyst argues that he does not excludes the possibility that these bombers might fly over Serbia since the United States European Command (EUCOM) are one of the key partners of the Serbian Army.
Here is how the information’s are being intentionally misinterpreted. Firstly, it is true that B-1B bombers were deployed for the purposes of the NATO Operation Allied Force Air campaign over Yugoslavia in 1999. In fact, only 6 B-1B bombers were deployed in 1999, which flew less than 2% of the combat sorties. Secondly, it is true that North Macedonia will be the host of the military exercise “Decisive Strike 19” that is scheduled for the period from 20 May to 15 July 2019. Thirdly, it is also true that the US Air Forces have deployed certain number of strategic bombers, including B-1B bombers in the past, on the Royal Air Forces (RAF) station “Fairford” located in the United Kingdom. These bombers were used several times in combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, as well as participated in the military drills BALTOPS and Sable Strike in 2018.
These facts are misused and misinterpreted in favor of an anti-NATO narrative. Firstly, there are no B-1B bombers deployed in the UK. Currently, there are only 6 B-52H bombers deployed at the RAF station “Fairford” for the purpose of participation in NATO military exercises. All B-1B bombers are landed in the U.S military bases located in Texas and North Dakota due to inspection of possible technical problems according to the U.S Air Force Global Strike Command. Secondly, neither the author nor the analysts did not provide any relevant information or prove of evidence that B-1B bombers would participate in the “Decisive Strike” in North Macedonia. Thirdly, the F2N2 team contacted the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of North Macedonia, and we got informed that “The news of the Serbian media B92 is a complete disinformation that B1-B bomber will be part of the “Decisive strike”, it is even less true that that kind of aircraft will drop a bomb during the military exercise. A bomber type B-52 will perform an overflight only on the day when high level guests and officials will be present, on the same day there will be F16 doing an overflight.”
Fourth, there are many contradicting information’s. In the article, the analyst says that the US European Command is one of the key partners of the Serbian Army, while in the same time he argues that the [allegedly] participation of the B-1B bombers would be a symbolic message for Serbia. Furthermore, it is unknown why would the U.S or NATO ask Serbian authorities to grant a permission for flying over its territory, knowing the fact that North Macedonia neighbors with 3 NATO members states.
In sum, these claims and texts are manipulative and intimidating, whose aim is to spread the Kremlin’s anti-NATO and anti-EU narrative among the people.
This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.