Independent Russian media is reporting that amid the feared Russian invasion, Ukrainian separatist forces are spreading staged recordings and videos to try and incriminate the Ukrainian government. According to a Moscow Times:
February 21, 2022 The explosion of open-source intelligence in the past decade has helped to debunk many reports that might otherwise have been taken at face value. It exposed that a seemingly urgent call last Friday by Ukraine’s separatist leaders for locals to evacuate to Russia had actually been recorded two days in advance. “The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, will soon issue an order for his forces to go on the attack,” Donetsk rebel chief Denis Pushilin says in his video message. “Therefore today, on February 18, we are organizing a large-scale evacuation of the civilian population into Russia,” he says. Telegram metadata showed that both Pushilin’s message and one recorded by another separatist leader were uploaded on February 16 – one of the days Washington had originally suggested a Russian invasion might be launched. “Everything that happens today is clearly and undoubtedly staged,” investigative journalist Mark Krutov tweeted as worries spread that the rebels were moving people out so that Russian tanks could move in. […]
Bellingcat and other disinformation warriors found visual evidence showing that a car bomb allegedly targeting a separatist police chief had actually been planted on a completely different vehicle. They showed photographs of the police chief’s registered license plate on a shiny new model SUV. That same plate then appears attached to the mangled remains of an older green army vehicle blown up in an empty parking last Friday. No one was hurt but Russian state television soon aired what it claimed to be the confession of a “Ukrainian spy” involved in the purported bomb plot.
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The report notes that even after eight years of conflict, the scale and breadth of this information war has reached epic proportions as Russian forces surround Ukraine’s borders.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively covered Russian disinformation operations targeting Ukraine in recent months.