Russian troops are not training on American soil, despite what one popular claim on Twitter and Facebook states.
A rumor has spread that the United States and Russia entered an agreement that would sent thousands of Russian troops for a planned “disaster.”
The original report claimed that the Kremlin’s Emergencies Ministry confirmed talks between Russia and the United States, and that 15,000 Russian troops would be sent to America for an unspecified “upcoming” disaster in FEMA Region III, which includes Washington, DC.
The Russian troops were said to be trained in disaster relief and “crowd functions.”
The report said that US Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano sent a request to Minister Vladimir Puchkov for Russian troops to work “directly and jointly” with FEMA.
A Facebook post and emails circulating the information about Russian troops in America painted the situation in dire terms.
“Make sure you have plan to keep your family safe,” it read. “This sounds like a bad movie. This should scare the crap out of you. Obama and the left are bringing America to it’s knees. According to the terms of a deal signed in Washington last week, Russian soldiers will soon be allowed to patrol American soil, “to provide security at mass events.’ ”
Of course, as urban legend debunker Snopes has pointed out, the reason it sounds like a bad movie is because it is indeed a work of fiction. There was an actual agreement between FEMA and the Russian Emergency Ministry signed in June, but it called for the countries to share the expertise of first responders only.
A FEMA spokesperson confirmed that there would be no exchange of military or security personnel, and no Russian troops training on American soil.
The false rumor was spread by some of the typical sources of conspiracy theories, including Alex Jones’ Infowars website, but no reports were able to offer actual proof of Russian troops training in the United States.
The Russian troops in America report followed a popular theme of urban legends linking President Barack Obama to some kind of nefarious use of FEMA. In past email circulations it was said Obama was setting up FEMA prison camps in preparation for a declaration of martial law.