China accuses the US of political manipulation due to new statements about the coronavirus

China accuses the US of political manipulation due to new statements about the coronavirus

Russia’s accusations against the United States and its “accomplices” regarding the planning of a provocation in Ukraine with the use of poisonous chemicals are an information operation “to divert the eyes”, according to American military experts.

According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian authorities are likely to increase the promotion of information operations “under a false flag” to divert attention from the lack of tangible gains on the battlefield. Analysts also believe that such disinformation can “slow down the provision of Western tanks and other assistance ahead of expected Ukrainian counteroffensives.”

As Reuters reported, on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry accused “the United States and its accomplices” of “planning a provocation in Ukraine with the use of poisonous chemicals.”

The ministry referred to the words of the former US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, who allegedly stated that “Russian troops are planning to use chemical weapons in the area of ​​the special military operation.”

As the head of radiation, chemical and biological defense forces of the Russian Armed Forces Igor Kirillov stated during the briefing, Russia “considers this information as the intention of the United States and its accomplices to carry out a provocation in Ukraine with the use of poisonous chemicals.”

During a roundtable discussion at the Wilson Center last week, when asked about the possibility of Russian use of chemical weapons, former U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said he “wouldn’t be surprised if they used chemical weapons in a limited area,” such as when they tried to take Azovstal last year, similar to how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons.

“But my prediction would be that it is the same with Syria, they will try to do it in such a way as to blame the Ukrainians for it. This would be a provocation to the Ukrainians, and they are counting on allies or partners to turn to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for an investigation to establish who did what. And it is impossible in the war zone,” said Sullivan, adding that such attempts were already made last year in Mariupol, when “the Russians accused the Ukrainians of using chemical weapons on a small scale.”

Photo: Victims of a chemical weapons attack, Idlib, Syria, 2017. The attacks were blamed on the forces of Bashar al-Assad, who was protected by his ally, Russian President Putin.

Analysts of the Institute for the Study of War recall that on February 19, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced that Ukrainian officials were planning attacks “under foreign flags” on radiologically dangerous facilities in Ukraine in order to accuse Russian troops of indiscriminate strikes on such facilities. That is, as analysts say, it is clear that the number of alarm signals from Russia is increasing.

As ISW analysts note, these reports appear at the same time as Ukraine is accused of preparing to invade Transnistria, occupied by Russia, in Moldova. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin also revived nuclear rhetoric during his address to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 21, when he announced Russia’s intention to suspend participation in the Nuclear Arms Control Treaty (NPT).

ISW analysts remind us that this is not the first time that Russia has tried to spread disinformation about Ukraine’s intentions in order to divert attention from failures on the battlefield, and they expect that the number of such information operations will increase.

“The Russian Ministry of Defense and top Russian officials are likely to increase their involvement in such information operations as the current Russian offensive in Luhansk Oblast nears its climax and opportunities for Ukrainian counteroffensives increase,” the analysts conclude.

As the Voice of America reported, a number of studies by Western organizations were released last week, which concluded that a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, disinformation and propaganda remain key weapons in the Kremlin’s arsenal.

According to research, Russia is successfully continuing its psychological operations aimed at destroying international support for Ukraine. One of the studies emphasizes that Russia deliberately creates “informational noise in the media” in order to create the impression that the truth cannot be established, and therefore, “this reduces the chances of supporting Ukraine in the conflict.”

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