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ISW: Russia seeks to incite protests among Ukrainian POWs’ relatives

Russian actors are encouraging relatives of Ukrainian POWs to protest, claiming that the Ukrainian leadership is blocking their return.
Russian disinformation
Illustrative photo. Credit: Postimees
ISW: Russia seeks to incite protests among Ukrainian POWs’ relatives

Russian forces are reportedly exploiting the relatives of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) to incite domestic discontent in Ukraine, likely as part of the wider “Maidan-3” Russian information campaign, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest report.

Since the first days of the full-scale invasion, Russian forces have been consistently attempting to spread disinformation on social media, particularly through Telegram channels, aiming to sow panic among Ukrainians and foster destabilization within the country.

Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets stated on 16 March that unspecified Russian actors are contacting relatives of Ukrainian POWs, claiming that Russia is ready to return the POWs but that the Ukrainian leadership is preventing this. The relatives are reportedly encouraged to protest about this issue. Lubinets emphasized that Ukraine has never halted POW exchanges.

UN report: Russian torture of Ukrainian POWs “widespread and systematic”

According to ISW, these Russian information operations are likely part of the “Maidan-3” information campaign, which Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) previously reported aims to sow domestic discontent in Ukraine and drive a wedge between civilians and military and political leadership.

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