Large Russian troll network is to incite anti-Ukrainian sentiment in the US

The Kremlin intensifies its propaganda efforts not only in EU countries but also in the United States, with the same goal of undermining military aid to Ukraine. The Washington Post reports that Russia has established a vast network of “trolls” with the intention of weakening US support for Ukraine. 

The purpose of the Russian troll network is to incite anti-Ukrainian sentiment by manipulating political discussions in the US Congress and other platforms. Kremlin bot farms have produced thousands of fake news stories, posts, and social media comments supporting American isolationism.

As the WP reported, confidential Kremlin papers reveal that when President Biden offered an additional $24 billion in supplemental funds for Ukraine in August, the Kremlin’s bot farms prepared to try to undermine popular support for the initiative.

A wide range of internal Kremlin documents obtained by a European intelligence agency and examined by The Washington Post disclose that Kremlin-linked political strategists and trolls have been writing thousands of fake news pieces, social media posts, and comments that support American isolationism, incite fear over border security, and try to escalate U.S. economic and racial tensions as part of an ongoing campaign to influence congressional and other political debates to fuel anti-Ukraine opinions.

The Post received more than a hundred documents from May 2022 to August 2023, revealing the scope and tactics of Kremlin propaganda efforts aimed at undermining American support for Ukraine. The data are part of a larger set of disclosures that have provided a unique window into Russia’s continuous attempts to destabilize Ukraine and undermine support for it in Germany and France.

A number of the documents had information indicating that they were authored by a group of individuals employed by Ilya Gambashidze, the owner of the PR agency Social Design Agency in Moscow. The United States imposed sanctions on Gambashidze last month due to his involvement in a Kremlin-run “persistent foreign malign influence campaign”. This campaign, dubbed “Doppelganger” by Western officials, included the creation of websites posing as reputable media outlets in Europe.

The WP post emphasizes that, given that congressional approval of additional aid is necessary for Ukraine’s security, Russia’s propaganda efforts have become almost as important as its military campaign in that country. Clint Watts, head of the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center, pointed out the major impact of Russia’s program over the past ten years, indicating how it has affected the debate in the US Congress regarding aid to Ukraine. He underlined that in the past, US lawmakers would not have questioned how crucial it was to support NATO and Ukraine.

The analysis found that the two primary topics propagated by the Kremlin bot networks were “the Ukrainian leadership is corrupt” and “Americans don’t support the military aid that the U.S. is giving Ukraine and consider that the money should be spent defending America’s borders.”

On the same day, 1+1, a well-known Ukrainian outlet, reported that Kremlin bot farms were distributing fake videos on social media under the hashtag “1+1 Ukraine”. According to the video, the media holding announced the beginning of a project named “United States of Treason” on their website on April 8.

The media organization points out that the fake news is part of a larger effort to weaken public opinion and US support for the Defense Forces of Ukraine. The fake news was shared on April 8 on Telegram and on other social networks.

The Center for Combating Disinformation previously revealed that Russia was threatening to reinstate the death penalty while disseminating false information regarding Ukraine’s alleged role in the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall in Russia.

While the US Congress continues to debate whether to approve new military aid to Ukraine, pro-Russian media outlets make enormous attempts to manipulate public opinion and influence US politicians.

El Pais, a Spanish news outlet, revealed last week that the Kremlin is stepping up its efforts to spread misinformation and disinformation in an attempt to influence the European Parliament elections scheduled for early June. Find out more in the article below:

Disinformation, media networks, and agents of influence: Russia amplifies its activities in the EU
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