Head of Ukraine's Foreign Intelligence Service Valeriy Kondratiuk has elaborated on major threats coming from Russian in the information space.
In an op-ed Kondratiuk penned for ZN.ua, he wrote Russia's attempts to dominate the Ukrainian information space are among the prerequisites for building up aggression against the country.
"The Kremlin plans to intensify its information and psychological warfare. To this end, social networks, targeted information operations, fake news, and disinformation campaigns are being actively employed," Kondratiuk wrote.
"It is worth recalling manipulation of versions regarding flight MH17 downed by Russian invaders, allegations about Ukraine 'training terrorists for ISIS', and false information spins about the alleged use of the Ukrainian territory for setting up secret biological weapons research labs," the intel chief wrote. "We should also keep in mind the norm laid down in the updated version of Russia's constitution on the impossibility of alienating territories, as well as criminal liability for public calls to this end. From now on, anyone who says Crimea belongs to Ukraine could be prosecuted in Russia."
The main element of destabilizing the Ukrainian society from within is "manipulation of protest sentiments, built including on patriotism (among the most actively exploited issues are language and religion, claims of 'external control' over Ukraine, including due to dependence on the IMF and other Western institutions and governments).
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The Kremlin spares no financial or human resources in this regard, Kondratiuk stresses. "Provocations are being inspired and widely covered in media involving attacks by alleged 'nationalists' on 'opposition' pro-Russian forces. False information is being spread internationally about 'Ukrainian mercenaries' in conflict regions, participation of Ukrainians in mass unrest on foreign soil," he wrote in the op-ed.
The latest example of such a special information operation was related to protests in Serbia. The Kremlin has spread fake news about the involvement of "mercenaries from Ukraine" in protests in Belgrade sparked over people's discontent with new COVID-19 curfew rules.
The activities of pro-Russian TV channels in Ukraine also require comprehensive assessment and response on the part of the Ukrainian government, Kondratiuk concluded.
Russian government's strategic goals, despite all cosmetic statements by the authorities in Moscow, remain unchanged: bringing Ukraine back into the orbit of total influence, eliminating its national identity and independence, establishing external control over the ongoing processes in the country, and ultimately terminating Ukraine as a sovereign state," the intelligence chief says.