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Russia is twisting a four-year-old Daily Star article to warn its people they face an actual or imminent invasion from the British Army – and no, we're not joking.

One headline this week from a pro-Kremlin media outlet said: "Urgent! 12.05.21 – The British army has broken into the Russian borders.

"The Kremlin has announced the hour of retribution!"

Another, from online TV station Tsargrad, warned: "London throws down a challenge to Putin: Britain has sent 200 military vehicles to Russia’s borders."

The reports were based on an article published on March 30, 2017, referencing the movement of vehicles from Southampton to ex-Soviet state Estonia, which borders Russia.

The deployment was four years ago and was purely for defensive purposes, featuring around 200 vehicles including 50 warrior tanks.

But Tsargrad went on to say: "Great Britain has decided to show Russia its might.

"To this end it has dispatched to Estonia 200 trucks and 50 tanks."

BBC Monitoring, who reports on mass media worldwide, said: "Russian online media and social media outlets have been using the article published by the Daily Star as the basis for the claims that Britain is currently sending large numbers of tanks to Estonia and is bent on military confrontation with Russia."

The Russian accounts suggested the military moves were happening this week as opposed to four years ago and linked it to the currently strained relationship between Russia and the West, while also whipping up invasion fears.

Another site, with seven million visits a month, also highlighted the alleged military move towards the Russian frontier saying it involved 800 troops.

The military site claimed: "Great Britain is openly going for confrontation with Russia, especially given that in the course of the next two-three weeks British, American and Dutch warships are due to enter the waters of the Black Sea.

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This report gave a link to the source of this supposed threat, a British online news report from March 2017.

Similar alarmist reports appeared in rusonline and left-nationalist site Svobodnaya Pressa.

The extraordinary warnings of a British military threat to Vladimir Putin came as major Russian TV channels also highlighted current NATO exercises in eastern Europe – which the alliance has stressed are defensive – as posing a direct threat to Moscow.

“NATO is either preparing for a large-scale war or thinks that war has already arrived,” stated a recent report on NTV.

“It is obvious who the enemy is – Russia, otherwise there would not have been such a transfer of troops and hardware to our western and southern borders.”

The NATO exercises are underway until next month and follow Russian drills which positioned more than 100,000 troops and associated military hardware close to the border of Ukraine – of which some, but not all, have been withdrawn.

  • BBC
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Military
  • Russia
  • British Army

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