Read our regular rubric on the key hybrid influences in Ukraine #HybridWeekly:
- During his speech dedicated to the 1033rd anniversary of Kyivan Rus’ Christianization, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that the history of Kyivan Rus’ is Ukraine’s heritage, and Russia cannot claim it as its own. This sparked outrage among the pro-Kremlin forces, which accused the President of the “anti-Russian manifest”. Appropriating Ukrainian history and pushing the “one nation” narrative is aimed to portray Ukraine as part of Russia, hence with no right to sovereignty.
- 55% of Ukrainians disagree with Putin’s message as though Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”, while 41% deem it true, according to a survey of 2500 random Ukrainians by the Sociological Group “Rating”. Pro-Russian forces exploited the second part, promoting the idea that a large part of Ukrainians are loyal to Russia despite the “anti-Russian propaganda” of the Ukrainian government. They also pushed the narrative of “divided Ukraine”, which portrays its Western part as nationalistic and pro-Western as opposed to the pro-Russian East. The aim of this is to affect the public opinion, to push the presence of strong pro-Russian sentiment and no unity among Ukrainians.
- President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the laws “On the Fundamentals of National Resistance” and the amendments to the law “On the Number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, which will enable to increase the Ukrainian army by 11,000 servicemen. The Kremlin’s proxies in Ukraine took to their platforms to push the narrative of “Ukrainian military aggression”, claiming that the laws signal the forthcoming offensive. Such propaganda shifts the focus from the fact that Ukraine is leading a defensive war and Russia bears sole responsibility for the aggression.