A network of anonymous Telegram channels ostensibly run by the Kremlin (read more about them here) are running an info-op to demoralize Ukrainians amid Russian strikes on civilian energy infrastructure, Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications writes.
By repeating simple messages that intertwine with neutral messages, the channels conduct an influence operation with the aim of sowing panic and animosity amid extensive blackouts that have engulfed the country after the destruction of the electricity infrastructure, the center writes.
Particularly, messages allege that:
- Russian missile attacks will last indefinitely, and it is impossible to defend against them;
- Ukrainian critical infrastructure will soon be out of service, and the energy sector will not be able to maintain it;
- prolonged blackouts will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and a significant increase in crime rates in cities;
- the Ukrainian government will not be able to cope with the challenges and will be helpless in the context of the crisis.
As well, they try to foment hatred for the central government, local government, residents of other regions, and even neighbours, who get more light among Ukrainians.
“Consumers of content are diligently persuaded that they are allegedly being treated unfairly,” the Center writes.
The audience of these social media channels is still quite large in Ukraine despite the Security Service warning of their Kremlin affiliation, and their messages and rumors are relayed to smaller local social media communities, such as chats of apartment buildings.
The point of the campaign is to undermine morale, spread despair, and push Ukraine into a “truce” with Russia, the Center notes.
For more about these Telegram channels: