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SBU: Russian information operations seek to discredit Ukraine's top officials, military

by Martin Fornusek April 4, 2024 2:12 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi at a flag-raising ceremony at the Memorial to the Defenders of the Bucha Community in Bucha, Kyiv Oblast, on March 31, 2024, the second anniversary of the liberation of Bucha. (Presidential Office)
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Russian intelligence services have launched a "huge number" of disinformation and psychological operations against Ukraine's top government and military officials, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) cybersecurity chief Illia Vitiuk said in an interview with Ukrinform published on April 4.

Ukraine's security services have previously identified such operations conducted by Moscow to undermine the Ukrainian leadership, namely the "Maidan-3" campaign that was reported on in November.

"There was a month when, according to our calculations, Russia launched more than a thousand different information attacks on various platforms," Vitiuk said.

When Valerii Zaluzhnyi was still Ukraine's commander-in-chief, there were many disinformation attacks and attempts to break into his accounts, the SBU official noted.

As soon as Oleksandr Syrskyi replaced Zaluzhnyi, the SBU discovered and blocked dozens of fake pages passing as the new commander's accounts.

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The SBU cybersecurity chief also said that the security service itself is being regularly targeted and that an attack is being prepared against Vitiuk personally.

Vitiuk explained that the hackers often seek to plant false information about Ukrainian officials, which is then unknowingly used by Ukrainian activists and serves to discredit said officials.

Russia learned to take "5% of facts and dilute it with 95% of interpretation and manipulation," Vitiuk commented.

The Washington Post reported in February that the Kremlin established a task force designed to undermine President Volodymyr Zelensky and drive a wedge between the Ukrainian population and its leadership.

Washington Post: Russia conducts disinformation campaign to undermine Zelensky
The materials have also revealed the Kremlin’s frustration with the lack of success, as opinion polls show that the Ukrainian society remains united and supportive of the leadership amid the ongoing full-scale war with Russia.

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