It’s been exactly one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. According to the latest data from the UN Human Rights Office, at least 8,000 civilians have been killed and more than 8 million people have fled the country.
But there’s another battle raging, this time online. Internet and social media users are being bombarded with misinformation about the conflict.
What are the main false messages that have been spread? And a year later, how has the information war evolved?
Let’s see it. A common theme spread by the Kremlin is that Russians suffer massive discrimination in the West.
Photoshopped headlines from major news publications spread across the internet. Even Euronews fell victim to it.
In October, a fake video purporting to be one of our reports claimed that a German auction house was “publicly destroying” Russian art in order to make donations to the Ukrainian military.
Another major issue was trying to discredit Western support for Ukraine.
One example we have seen is the claim on Russian state television that there were 80,000 people rallying in Belgium against the country’s support for Ukraine.
And finally, one of the main targets of attacks by pro-Russian propaganda has been Ukrainian refugees. They have been wrongly portrayed as ungrateful or even dangerous
To see how the strategy of pro-Kremlin propaganda has changed, we spoke with Roman Osadchuk, a researcher specializing in Russian disinformation.
“I think the intensity stayed the same. The only thing that changed is that they are more adaptable to new realities when they get blocked in some countries, so they already know which channels they can use to promote their messages to specific audiences.”
But the information war has also developed on the Ukrainian side.
One of the stories we have debunked is that of the Ghost of kyiv, a flying ace who is said to have single-handedly destroyed six Russian planes. He never existed.
But there is a difference in the target and scope of the disinformation campaigns between Russia and Ukraine, according to Madeline Roache, editor-in-chief of NewsGuard.
“Russia’s disinformation campaign is trying to convince a public at home and around the world that what it is doing in Ukraine is justifiable… While Ukraine’s disinformation campaign, the few examples we have identified are trying to build support for Ukraine, and it’s typically among Ukrainians.”
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Source: Euronews Español