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The French media space is literally saturated and corrupted by the propaganda of the Russian ship Shtandart as well as by a fallacious rewriting of European sanctions. Although the tools and resources have been developed to counter this disinformation carried by powerful intermediaries, the truth will only come to light through the determined and collective action of #NoShtandartInEurope activists. This article determines the modus operandi of their endeavour.

European regulation concerning restrictive measures against Russian ships, full text

Surprisingly, since the beginning of the Russian ship Shtandart case in the ports of our country, no French media, unlike the Spanish press, considered quoting the authentic European text setting out the exclusion measures affecting ships registered in Russia.

Shtandart: letter to France 3 TV

Regarding the Russian ship Shtandart, France 3 TV article confirms the resolute commitment of La Rochelle municipality in the violation of European sanctions and in the propagation of a misleading presentation of the European text in order to deceive public opinion.

The Russian ship « Shtandart » case: reminder letter to French Prime Minister

At the beginning of July 2022, Oleh Sentsov and Roman Sushchenko, together with about thirty Ukrainian associations of France, wrote to the Prime Minister of France asking her to put an end to the violation of sanctions by the Russian ship  » Shtandart ». As of December 19, 2022, no response has been received. And no measures have been taken to put an end to this illegal situation under European law. As a result, #NoShtandartInEurope sent a reminder letter to the Head of Government, Ms Élisabeth Borne, informing her that the Shtandart scandal has been exposed to the Presidency of the French Republic.

Russian frigate « Shtandart » – Letter to the French president

Letter addressed to Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, asking him for the effective application of the fifth package of sanctions and for, consequently, the expulsion of the Russian ship « Shtandart » from French ports. It is, moreover, proposed to share, with the State agencies, the findings evidenced by #NoShtandartInEurope regarding the ramifications of the pro-Russian influence network exercising its hold on the city of La Rochelle.

« Shtandart », the Russian ship that breaks European sanctions with the support of the authorities of La Rochelle, France

On Sunday, December 11, 2022, following an invitation of the « Ukraine Atlantique » Association, around a hundred Ukrainians and French supporters of Ukraine came from Rennes, Saint-Malo, Caen, Paris, Nantes, Saintes, Bordeaux and various other cities to back their counterparts in La Rochelle. On several occasions, they encouraged the mayor of La Rochelle, Jean-François Fountaine, and the prefect of Charente-Maritime, Nicolas Basselier, to take note of the fifth part of the sanctions voted unanimously, by the States members of the European Union, on April 8, 2022. According to the activists, this text prohibits Russian ships from entering EU ports.

Rally against Russian frigate « Shtandart » in Bilbao, 31/07/2022

A rally of Ukrainians, accompanied by local activists, was held on Sunday morning July 31, 2022, against the presence of the Russian frigate « Shtandart » in the port of Bilbao. Among other things, the demonstrators accuse Shtandart of:

violating the 5th package of European sanctions,
falsely claiming to be an opponent to Putin’s regime,
promoting the Russian flag, symbol of the worst crimes committed on European soil since 1945,
being an element of the Russian propaganda and « soft power »,
creating a diversion from the war.

Shtandart’s 2021 mission under the auspices of the President of Russia

According to a well shared and used narrative, Shandart frigate is said to be an anti-Putin ship and her captain, is granted the status of a visceral Putin opponents for years, at least since 2009. Shtandart also claims to not receive any public funding from Russian state. It did not prevent Shtandart vessel to perform an official Russian assignment under the auspice of the Russian president as late as 2021 as evidenced by a Greek publication.

Russian vessel Shtandart – Letter to Mrs. Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister – Request for cancellation of the derogation from sanctions.

Despite the 5th package of European sanctions, the Russian ship Shtandart enters Spanish and French ports by displaying an anti-Putinism without any real meaning, by instrumentalizing humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian populations victims of the Russian war, by promoting Russian soft power, and by appealing to the generosity of the public for its own benefit. Oleh Sentsov and Roman Suschenko, as well as about thirty Ukrainian organizations, ask Elizabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France, to put an end to this unjustifiable preferential treatment.