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The Ukrainian International Center for Countering Disinformation that was established on the initiative of the President Volodymir Zelensky was launched on March 11th. Kiev invited its international partners to join the effort of combating disinformation and propaganda in hopes that the Center could ever become the international hub of the fight against dissemination of false information all over the world.
While Zelensky announced his “commitment to fight disinformation” a large fake information campaign of pro-Ukrainian forces was detected in social media.
“We believe that our German friends and colleagues will be among the first to join this idea, because today, unfortunately, Ukraine is indeed a foothold, where counter-information, primarily from the Russian Federation, is constantly used. Therefore, we have extensive experience of counteraction and we hope that we will be able to coordinate our efforts with international partners, ” – head of the Ukrainian President’s office Andrey Yermak said on March 9 during an online discussion “ Conflict in the East of Ukraine: Prospects for 2021 ”.
As there were still no comments from any European country on the desire to take part in the development of this center, it is hard to imagine that Germany or any leading Western European country that follows democratic principle of freedom of speech could openly support such an effort. Highly likely Kiev could rather count on some help from of Baltic States or Poland.
In addition to the Center, Kiev plans to open an “online-museum of Russian propaganda” as the first platform of a wider infrastructure that would be aimed at explaining people the “reality” they are living in. Thus, the counteraction to Russia in any form is implemented as the core ideology and religion of the Ukrainian people.
Kiev’s methods to counter the spread of any kind of information that could somehow damage declining approval ratings of Zelensky are already well known. Under the pretext of fighting the alleged pro-Russian propaganda he started political persecution of Ukrainian opposition. For example, recently opposition party leader and blogger Anatoly Shariy faced criminal proceeding regarding alleged high treason, he has also been accused of false representation while registration of his party.
Moreover, Zelensky prohibited broadcasting of three large Ukrainian channels “112 Ukraine”, Zik and NewsOne, implementing sanctions to their owner opposition deputy Taras Kozak.
The new Center was launched at a time, when the Ukrainians, as well as the citizens of Donbass, are waiting for a coming escalation on the front line. Kiev’s preparations for a new large-scaled attack were evidenced by numerous videos showing heavy weapons carried towards Donetsk, claims by witnesses, analytics and officials. However, large military reinforcement is not the only way of Ukrainian forces’ preparations, in order to justify the coming assault they are artificially creating a pretext via fake informational campaign.
In recent days, all information resources under Kiev’s control are spreading fake news that Russia is preparing a provocation in Donbass with the aim to deploy its peacekeepers there.
Hereupon, First Deputy Minister of Information of the DPR Daniil Bezsonov shared in his Telegram the information that the Ministry of Information of the DPR had detected massive publication of fake claims allegedly made by the DPR citizens in social media. The posts said that locals allegedly spotted Russian mercenaries in different villages in the region.
The provided screenshots:
All the posts were made at the same time and provided the same text where only the names of the towns were changed:
“Today in Shakhtyorsk I saw a group of strong guys in military style clothes. They were actively buying food. Highly likely they are representatives of a Russian PMC. Probably, something is being prepared. “
Among other fake claims, there were some allegedly made by pro-Russian citizens. However, all the texts were written in one style, with same claims using the same words:
There is no more room for peace there. One day, I saw such strong guys, all dressed in military style, neat, in the Republican (village). I have not seen such guys here before.
There is 100% truthful information that our Russian brothers are already in the rear + new equipment has been noticed.
In Debaltsevo (town), a buildup has already been seen, so it may be true. Strong guys appeared in a new uniform. Thus, ours are also ready.
(Godmother of my child) from Gorlovka told that there were new forces deployed. Those guys are well trained, significant reinforcement in general
On the basis of such fake claims, Ukrainian media publish numerous articles on the Russian PMCs in Donbass. Such claims are ridiculous, as even despite the fact that the alleged reports by locals are absolutely fake, incompetent Ukrainian journalists add more details to make the article look a little truer. For example, one of details that disclose Russian mercenaries is their accent. Meanwhile, DPR and LNR citizens who speaks mainly Russian have no specific accent that could differ a lot from Russian western regions or other part of Eastern Ukraine.
People in uniform without chevrons appeared, movement began on the border: how do the DPR and LPR are preparing for war. “At the city market last Sunday, a platoon of Russian soldiers bought provision. Locals report that the distinctive marks included new pressed uniform, the absence of chevrons on the sleeves, an accent, etc.”
All the methods that are actively implemented in the sphere of information are aimed at justifying Kiev’s offensive measures in Eastern Ukraine. Proofs of Russian forces’ presence are yet yo be provided.
There are less and less doubts that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are preparing to launch a major attack in the nearest future. According to the Ukrainian media, “ the 15th of March is going to become a landmark for Ukraine”. This intrigue was created by a famous Ukrainian journalist Gordon in one of his interviews. His words were actively spread in social media and turned into suggestion on the up-coming UAF’s attack, that were also actively shared during the information campaign described below. Time will show, if these suggestions were right and the escalation in Eastern Ukraine will start on March 15th, or if it was another fake news spread by MSM.
Today, the one thing is evident: There is no chance that the newly-created Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation could ever gain worldwide recognition while it is based on the Ukrainian experience of managing the information sphere.
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