At the White House this week, President Biden said the United States had “reason to believe” that Russia was “engaging in a false flag campaign” under the pretext of invading Ukraine.
A new report by the European Association of Experts, a research group focused on security in Ukraine, and technology watchdog Reset Tech says that since October, disinformation researchers have observed Rumors spread widely on the Internet and in Russian news media. an operation or to help justify army building.
Many of the rumors began circulating on anonymous Telegram channels, the report said, and were later echoed in televised statements by Russian officials. Others began with statements by Russian officials and were repeated on Telegram channels until they became the center of conversation among ordinary citizens.
“The rhetoric of pro-Kremlin sources has recently become much more aggressive,” said Maria Avdeeva, research director at the European Association of Experts.
At the request of The New York Times, the Global Disinformation Index, a nonprofit research group, independently evaluated the report and said the study appeared credible.
Here are some unsupported claims that European Professionals’ Association researchers have found.
Unfounded claim 1: Ukraine is planning to attack some separatist-held territory with chemical weapons.
On December 21, Russian Defense Minister Serhiy Shoigu accused the Ukrainian army of preparing to attack two separatist-held territories in Ukraine. The next day, the state news agency RIA Novosti published a report confirming that a stockpile of chemical weapons had been given to Ukraine by the United States, according to the researchers.
Throughout January and February, the researchers say, the Russian-backed media spread rumors, which were amplified on social media. A notice on an anonymous Telegram channel with 24,500 followers said: “Chemical weapons are present on Ukrainian territory. The post was viewed by 7,000 people.
Unfounded claim 2: Ukrainian troops are preparing to attack Donbas.
According to researchers, Russian state media has spread rumors that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are planning an attack on Donbas, a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine, with the support of American and British mercenaries. and Poland.
The rumor then spread on Facebook and YouTube. A Facebook post that garnered nearly 100 likes said: “Ukrainian people are waiting for Mother Russia to free their sister from the Nazis and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On YouTube, a viral video with the same unproven claim has garnered more than 31,600 views.
Unfounded rumor 3: Nuclear power plants are at the center of a US conspiracy.
In this account, the Russians accuse the Ukrainians and Americans of planting a false flag.
As of January 30, all 15 nuclear power plants of Ukraine have been generating electricity, marking the longest period of completely using nuclear energy in the country. It happened when the Ukrainian authorities decided to disconnect the power grid from Belarus and the Russian Federation and implemented a plan to do so.
Russian state media began spreading the idea that Ukraine was overestimating its ability to meet its energy needs and that its nuclear facilities were in dire need of repair. Russian media hint that Western countries may be organizing attacks on nuclear facilities and blame Russia.
On February 12, a Telegram channel with more than 15,000 followers posted that the British Special Aviation Authority was preparing an attack on one of Ukraine’s power plants.
And on February 15, the Telegram channel of a Russian war correspondent, Aleksander Kots, alleged that Ukraine had requested special equipment from the United States to help mitigate a possible natural disaster, including including radioactive fallout and chemical fallout, according to the researchers. Mr. Kots added the baseless allegation that the Ukrainians were setting up a fake flag event – accusing Russia of preparing a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant. The researchers reported that his comment was viewed by 83,900 people on Telegram.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/19/business/russia-has-been-laying-groundwork-online-for-a-false-flag-operation-misinformation-researchers-say.html Disinformation researchers say Russia has set up an online base for a ‘fake flag’ operation.