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Washington Post: Russia uses trolls to undermine US support for Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova April 8, 2024 3:46 PM 2 min read
A view of the State Duma building, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, in central Moscow on October 27, 2022. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Kirill Kudryavtsev /AFP via Getty Images)
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Moscow is trying to undermine the U.S. support for Ukraine by using its troll farms and political strategists in the backdrop of Kyiv's critical need for further American assistance, the Washington Post reported on April 8 after reviewing internal Kremlin documents obtained by a European intelligence service.

U.S. aid to Ukraine has been delayed since fall 2023, as various versions of a foreign aid bill have been derailed due to border security disagreements.

In February, a $95 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to bring it to a vote in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

The latest Russian disinformation campaign is part of a 10-year Kremlin strategy aiming to "elevate the voices of populist, anti-establishment politicians opposed to the U.S. global role," the Washington Post said, citing analysts and former American officials.

Political strategists and trolls have written thousands of fabricated news articles, social media posts, and comments that promote the idea of American isolationism, according to the media outlet.

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Russia's disinformation campaign also aims to "stir fear over the United States' border security and attempt to amplify U.S. economic and racial tensions."

The Washington Post said that one of the political strategists instructed a Russian troll farm employee to post comments of "no more than 200 characters in the name of a resident of a suburb of a major city."

The fictional American also had to describe U.S. President Joe Biden's policies as those that are leading the U.S. "toward collapse" and to oppose further military aid to Ukraine, promoting the message that "the money should be spent on America's border and not Ukraine's."

The accounts emphasized the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and called for border security to be prioritized over any aid to Ukraine.

The Russian trolls also accused Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky of corruption.

The campaign described "white Americans" as "the principal losers" of foreign aid, according to the document obtained by the Washington Post.

"Russia has been ramping up its propaganda operations as part of a second front that current and former senior Western officials said has become almost as important for Moscow as the military campaign in Ukraine," the Washington Post's article read.

"Especially as congressional approval for further aid has become critical for Kyiv's ability to continue defending itself."

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