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Russia continues its information campaigns aimed at deterring the West’s provision of support to Ukraine – ISW

13.02.2023, 15:02
Photo: Center for Countering Disinformation
Photo: Center for Countering Disinformation

Russia continues its information campaigns aimed at deterring the West’s provision of support to Ukraine, Institute for the Study of War (ISW) analysts believe.

"Russia has partially reconstituted its ability to conduct information operations as part of its hybrid warfare campaigns in support of military operations. These information operations will continue to emerge as Russia attempts to set conditions for upcoming operations and mitigate setbacks, and the West must critically evaluate the context of Russian information operations and avoid simply interacting with them on their own terms," the report reads.

The ISW says that Putin began to focus on feeding the arguments Western leaders were making to themselves about the dangers of providing Ukraine with too much materiel or certain kinds of materiel.

 "These Russian information campaigns have been continuous in their pursuit of the common aim of inhibiting Western support for Ukraine regardless of battlefield conditions," the report notes.

According to the report, "Russia uses the narrative that Ukraine is incapable of defeating Russia because of inherent power disparities between the two states to mitigate major Russian setbacks or Russian failures to achieve rapid successes in major offensive operations."

"Russian information campaigns earlier in the invasion relied on amplifying the assumption that Russia possesses the “second largest military in the world” with advanced military capabilities. These information operations aimed to mislead the West and Ukraine into believing that any transfers of military equipment would be irrelevant because Ukraine would not be able to withstand rapidly unfolding offensive operations from different directions and would be vulnerable to Russian attack," the analyst say, adding that the anticipated blitzkrieg at the start of the war and the impression of an unstoppable, if slow, advance during its second phase were intended in part to deter Western aid provision.

As IMI reported, Russia's information influence abroad has grown to a several dozen times its size after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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