Ukraine alleges Russia’s disinformation campaign aimed at dividing allies

Ukraine accused Russia on Tuesday of waging a large-scale “disinformation” campaign to divide its Western allies and sow panic among its population.

Kyiv has become increasingly frustrated with hold-ups to Western aid in recent months, warning it has lost ground to Russia due to ammunition shortages.

“The international goal of the Russians is to reduce support for our country from the pro-Ukrainian coalition in the world,” Ukraine’s intelligence service said.

It alleged Russia was spreading fake information online in a bid to disrupt Ukraine’s mobilisation drive, question Kyiv’s ability to win and promote the idea the West was “fatigued”.

“Russian special services have extensive experience in conducting hybrid wars. They spend no less on information attacks against Ukraine than on conventional warfare,” it added.

It said Russia had budgeted $1.5 billion (1.4 billion euro) for its disinformation campaign, including almost $250 million spent on “anti-Ukrainian sentiment” on the Telegram messaging app.

It also accused the Kremlin of trying to sow distrust in Ukraine’s public officials and question President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s five-year mandate, set to expire in May.

“According to the enemy’s plan, in the first half of June, the situation in our country will be shaken and then, taking advantage of the situation, Ukraine will be defeated militarily in the East, which is the key idea of their operation,” it said.

Faced with shortages of ammunition and manpower on the battlefield, the Ukrainian army has suffered mounting difficulties across the frontline.

It has withdrawn from a string of towns on the eastern front in the past three months, including the major industrial hub of Avdiivka earlier in February.

While EU leaders have overcome long-running opposition from Hungary to agree more aid, support from Kyiv’s biggest ally Washington has been held up due to infighting in Congress.

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