Russia has found new ways to spread its disinformation since how its invasion of Ukraine caused the EU to block RT and Sputnik, the Kremlin's two main propaganda channels.
After almost six months of war, the number of sites promoting the same propaganda content has skyrocketed, according to an AP publication. It is reported that some sites have been rebranded for disguise, and some of the propaganda duties of the Russian Federation have been transferred to diplomats. Some of the content was published on new websites that so far had no apparent connection to Russia.
New York-based disinformation research and monitoring firm NewsGuard found 250 websites actively spreading Russian disinformation about war. Dozens of new sites have been added to them in recent months.
The false reports on these sites include claims that the Ukrainian army staged several deadly attacks against Russia to garner global support, that President Volodymyr Zelensky is faking public appearances, or that Ukrainian refugees are committing crimes in Germany and Poland.
Some sites pose as independent think tanks or news outlets.
About half of them distribute messages in English, and the rest – in French, German or Italian.
Many were created long before the war and were not associated with the Russian government, until they suddenly began to repeat the theses of the Kremlin.
YouTube, TikTok and Meta, who own Facebook and Instagram have pledged to remove RT and Sputnik from their platforms in the European Union. But researchers have found that in some cases, all Russia had to do to get around the ban was post its propaganda from other accounts.
The Situation Center on Disinformation Europe Base found that some RT video content was appearing on social media under a new brand and logo.
It was reported that the Russian embassy in Britain in a Twitter post justified the killing of Azov regiment fighters, saying that they deserved a humiliating death.
In response to this tweet, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that Russian diplomats are accomplices in war crimes in Ukraine and should be held accountable.
Prepared by: Nina Petrovich