BRIEF: A Twisted Hall of Mirrors
EUvsDISINFO• June 15, 2023
The fog of war machine
Wartime propaganda aims to sow confusion and demoralize the enemy. Pro-Kremlin sources spread ludicrous claims about Ukrainian leaders to demonstrate Russia’s military might and demoralize Ukrainians. For instance, they have claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fled Ukraine, committed suicide, or had a body double. Recently, Ukrainian Military Intelligence head Kyrylo Budanov was targeted with similarly false claims. The rumors about his death were spread on Telegram and Twitter and were later debunked by telegraf.com.ua. But more such claims will likely come from the Kremlin and its proxies.
Forgery and fakery are key tools of the Kremlin's information manipulation strategy. Recently, the French government exposed a complex disinformation campaign against France involving Russian actors. The campaign included creating fake websites and social media accounts. This campaign appears to be connected to a similar operation uncovered last year by EU DisinfoLab. Another case of potential Russian information manipulation involves the website Europress, which was registered by an anonymous entity and now exclusively re-shares articles from Sputnik. The website is likely automated and uses web crawlers to increase its visibility, but it is unclear whether it is directly linked to the Russian manipulation ecosystem.
Recent Disinformation Cases:
- According to Russian President Putin, Russia is gradually and methodically demilitarizing Ukraine. Since 2014, Russia has been waging an all-out war of aggression against Ukraine, violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Kremlin-controlled outlets insist that Ukraine attacked and damaged the Kakhovka Dam on June 6th. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Russian forces captured the Kakhovka Dam at the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February and have held it ever since.