Many residents in Ukrainian towns on the frontline still believe Russian propaganda about the war, according to a New York Times article.
One resident believed that the Ukrainian Army was responsible for shellings in her town, even though Russian forces have been attacking several cities in the region for over eight months.
The New York Times reported that many residents perpetrate popular Russian lies, such as the conspiracy that the West caused the war or that the Ukrainian Army is responsible for forcing people to leave.
According to Dmytro Kirdiapkin, a local police chief in Kostyantynivka, residents of eastern Ukraine are exposed to Russian social media channels, television, and radio programs at all hours of the day. “We lost the information war in 2014,” he said.
The Ukrainian intelligence community is unable to keep up with the spread of propaganda. In addition to an abundance of pro-Russian material, some residents act as informants to Russian intelligence.
“In my opinion, [propaganda] is the most brutal weapon the Russian Federation uses on our people,” Kirdiapkin said to the New York Times.
Despite the past success of Russian propaganda campaigns, Kirdiapkin believes that people will become less susceptible to lies as they begin to see for themselves the events of the war.