Top Hybrid Influences of the Week in Ukraine

This week in our #HybridWeekly rubric:

  • The Kremlin propaganda machine seizes an opportunity to exploit a tragic accident for discrediting Ukraine and its Armed Forces. The Kremlin’s puppet “Donetsk People’s Republic” accused the Ukrainian army of killing a child in the occupied territories with a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). This was immediately spread by Russian state-controlled media, as well as pro-Russian outlets in Ukraine. In fact, the boy’s death resulted from an accident with an explosive device, not a drone attack. The Armed Forces of Ukraine enjoy the most credibility among Ukrainians, and thus become an important target for the discrediting efforts of pro-Kremlin forces. Check our analysis regarding the case here.
  • Portraying Ukrainian government as an “aggressor” responsible for the escalation at the frontline continues: this week it is explained as an attempt to divert people’s attention from the COVID-19 pandemic. Pro-Kremlin media promote the narrative that Ukrainian government scares people with messages of a coming war to distract them from its handling of the pandemic and vaccination campaign. Ironically, it is the Kremlin that has been using distraction for decades as an instrument of its public image control.
  • Ukrainian government has signed a contract with Pfizer for the supply of 10 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. Thus, the pro-Kremlin forces have intensified their efforts to discredit the vaccine through the usual means of spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories. Similar campaigns are pursued each time Ukraine announces securing supply of vaccines, which was the case with AstraZeneca.