Thursday Briefing: Russia’s Online Attack on Ukraine Aid

The techniques are subtle and far more skillful than what Russia attempted in 2016.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Russia’s stealthy online effort to derail Ukraine aid

Russia has intensified its spread of online disinformation in an effort to derail military funding in the U.S. and Europe for Ukraine, according to experts and intelligence assessments. The campaign largely uses harder-to-trace technologies to amplify arguments for isolationism ahead of the U.S. elections.

The stepped-up operations, run by aides to President Vladimir Putin and Russian military intelligence agencies, come at a critical moment in the debate in the U.S. over support for Ukraine. Russian operatives are laying the groundwork for what could be a stronger push to support candidates who oppose aiding Ukraine, or who call for pulling the U.S. away from NATO and other alliances, U.S. officials and independent researchers say.

Investigators say that firms working in the loosely linked “Doppelgänger” network create fake versions of real news websites in the U.S., Israel, Germany and Japan, among other countries. U.S. officials note that their techniques make identifying — and calling out — Russian operations particularly difficult.

U.S. intelligence agencies do not believe that the Kremlin has begun its full-bore influence effort. Putin will probably shift at some point from the anti-Ukraine messaging to influence operations that more directly support the candidacy of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

An emergency center that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon.Credit…Mohammad Zaatari/Associated Press
Back to top button