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ISW: Russia’s information campaigns aim to mitigate military failures, deter Western aid to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 13, 2023 8:27 AM 1 min read
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Russia advanced narratives about Ukrainian military weakness and power asymmetry between the two countries to mitigate Russian setbacks and failures to rapidly advance, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update on Feb. 12.

The report detailed Russia’s use of information narratives to deter Western aid to Ukraine, mitigate its battlefield setbacks, and undermine the coherence of the Western coalition since the beginning of the war.

The current information campaign against provision of long-range weapons and tanks spreads the narrative that “Ukraine will deliberately threaten Russia with these weapons instead of prioritizing the liberation of its Russian-occupied territories,” according to the report. Nuclear escalation threats in the fall of 2022 similarly aimed to undermine Western support after Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast.

Information campaigns promoting Russia’s ideas for peace talks in December 2022 aimed to delay the provision of advanced equipment essential for the continuation of Ukrainian counteroffensives.

“The West should consider that Russian discussions of negotiations may not be about negotiations or conditions for peace at all, but may rather be information campaigns specifically targeted at getting Russia through windows of opportunity or vulnerability on the battlefield,” the report said.

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