Disinformation attack on Zelenskyy: US intelligence reveals details

May 16,2024 278
Disinformation attack on Zelenskyy: US intelligence reveals details

Russia has intensified its disinformation campaign against the President of Ukraine. The Kremlin is trying to discredit Volodymyr Zelenskyy and question his legitimacy, according to sources in American intelligence, CNN reports.

Russia has seized on various recent events to fuel criticism about Zelenskyy’s abilities and place as Ukraine’s leader,” said a senior Biden administration official said in an interview, according to the news report.

Russian propaganda is gaining momentum as Ukrainian defenders try to hold the front line amid numerous Russian attacks in northeastern Ukraine.

“I would actually connect this disinformation effort to President Zelensky’s effectiveness across this conflict in remaining a stable, dedicated and critically important leader of his country,” said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the intelligence.

The Kremlin’s disinformation campaign includes two main directions – the withdrawal of Defense Forces from Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast and the postponed presidential elections due to martial law, which were supposed to take place in the spring of 2024.

“Russia suffered huge losses of troops to take Avdiivka but their eventual victory underscored Ukraine’s shortage of Western ammunition and its difficulties in defending the 1000km-long front line. Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian withdrawal was ordered to avoid being surrounded and save his soldiers’ lives. The Russian narrative now being propagated, the official said, was that it was not a strategic Ukrainian decision but “rather to assign other motives,” the official said. In the context of the elections, Russians are trying to fuel the narrative of Zelenskyy’s illegitimacy.

Russian intelligence services are behind this campaign, and disinformation is being spread through state media, proxy sites, and social networks, according to intelligence. Meanwhile, the US is concerned about the impact of Russian disinformation not on Ukraine, but on its allies, as it could undermine support for Kyiv.

“We view this as a natural evolution, or a logical evolution, in Russia’s tactics,” the senior administration official said. “Not only have we seen these disinformation efforts increasing but we also expect them to continue to increase.”

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