Russia launches massive disinformation campaign against Ukrainian government

February 21,2024 534
Russia launches massive disinformation campaign against Ukrainian government

The Kremlin is conducting an extensive disinformation campaign targeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to The Washington Post, citing Russian documents obtained from European intelligence services. Moscow has been attempting to sow discord between Zelenskyy and former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi for months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration ordered a group of Russian political strategists to use social media and fake news articles to push the theme that Zelenskyy “is hysterical and weak. … He fears that he will be pushed aside, therefore he is getting rid of the dangerous ones,” the publication writes.

The Kremlin’s group created thousands of social media posts and hundreds of fabricated articles. The materials were disseminated in Ukraine and across Europe, seeking to capitalize on tensions between Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi, according to journalists.

In January last year, the Kremlin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, instructed political technologists to establish a presence on Ukrainian social media to spread disinformation. The efforts were based on a previous project aimed at undermining support for Ukraine in the West, including in France and Germany.

In Kyiv, there is concern that Russia’s propaganda efforts could begin to undermine national unity and the moral spirit of Ukrainians. “The most difficult times are ahead. Russia survived and they are preparing a new campaign which consists of three main directions: first, pressure on the front line; second, attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure; and thirdly, this destabilization campaign,” said one senior European security official anonymously.

Kiriyenko outlined four goals for the propaganda group: discrediting the military and political leadership of Kyiv, creating divisions within the Ukrainian elite, demoralizing Ukrainian troops, and disorienting the Ukrainian population.

Additionally, Russian special services have launched a disinformation campaign to discredit the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, including the creation of fake social media pages, reported the Disinformation Resistance Center at the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

“The destructive messages from Russia are being promoted through a network of fake accounts on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, X, and Telegram, created by Russian special services. Information confrontation units of Russian special services have significantly intensified recently in both Ukraine and NATO member countries,” added the center.

Cover: Ukraine’s President’s Office

Donate Subscribe to our news