US Must Defy Russian Information Ops and Aid Ukraine, Analysts Argue

The United States must be aware of and avoid Russian disinformation operations at all costs if it wants to maintain its Western values ​​and help Ukraine win the war, conflict analysts say.

“Basic facts are being challenged daily as the Kremlin floods the Western debate with its narratives,” analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in a March 27 report.

Analysts said that “the idea that the war is unwinnable due to Russian domination is a Russian information operation, which gives us insight into the Kremlin’s true strategy and the only real hope for success” .

For years, Russia has manipulated information enough to lead other countries to perceive that it is a dominant force in Europe and, more recently, that it is winning in Ukraine.

Because Russia must sideline Ukraine’s Western partners, the United States in particular, write ISW analysts, “the Russian strategy that matters most is therefore not the war strategy of Moscow, but rather the Kremlin’s strategy to get us to see the world the way it wants. we need to see it and make decisions in this Kremlin-generated alternate reality that will allow Russia to win in the real world. »

ISW says the Kremlin is propagating the narrative that “supporting Ukraine is a distraction from ‘real’ American problems” and is simply not worth it, and it is having an effect. Conflict fatigue became a serious problem in the West, particularly the United States, as funding for Ukraine’s war effort was delayed and failed to pass in Congress for months.

The consequences are evident on the battlefield and Ukrainian forces are struggling with a shortage of ammunition and supplies.

Congressional delay has become such a notable problem that last month it was reported that more than 40% of Ukrainians had less confidence in Western support and felt the West was “tired” of Ukraine .

And the question arises more frequently whether supporting Ukraine is worth it, whether peace negotiations, even if it involves sacrifices for Ukraine, are not the best way forward.

Ukrainian soldiers fire the Archer artillery system at a Russian position December 16, 2023, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers fire the Archer artillery system at a Russian position December 16, 2023, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Roman chop/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

“Russia is hijacking and substituting key concepts in the Western debate on this war, such as the notions of peace and defense, thereby contributing to the errors of Western categories on both,” the ISW experts said. “When the Kremlin ‘signals peace,’ it actually signals a demand for capitulation by Ukraine and the West.”

Ukraine has been tasked with defending itself since the Russian invasion, but Western countries have sometimes misinterpreted Ukraine’s defense and arms demands as aggressive and “escalating” the conflict.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently refused to donate Taurus cruise missiles, arguing that they could only be used responsibly if German soldiers were sent to Ukraine to help operate them, which will not happen not. He said it was a “line I don’t want to cross as chancellor,” according to the Associated Press article.

Scholz has been reluctant to send weapons to Ukraine – especially new ones – like the Leopard 2 battle tank. The United States has also procrastinated on key systems such as HIMARS, armor like Bradley and Abrams, aircraft and long-range missiles like ATACMS. And other nations have sometimes done the same.

ISW pointed out that Russia is taking advantage of Western countries continually denying Ukraine crucial weapons that could significantly neutralize it.

A Leopard 2A6 tank is seen at a wooded training site in Lithuania.

Lithuania is helping Ukraine repair its Leopard 2 tanks after they were damaged in the war against Russia.

Alexander Welscher/alliance photo via Getty Images

To combat Russian disinformation, ISW experts suggest that Western countries like the United States and its European allies continue to persist in helping Ukraine’s cause and counter Russia’s role in shaping the Western perception of aid and support to Ukraine.

“The United States must challenge the Kremlin’s efforts to alter our own decision-making and will,” ISW analysts said.

Experts also said the stakes if Russia were to win would be much higher than the Kremlin might have led Western leaders to believe.

“If Russia wins in Ukraine, it will mean that the Kremlin will have succeeded in undermining the West’s willingness and ability to reason from the truths on the ground and its interests,” they write. “Helping Ukraine win and defeat the principles Russia is trying to uphold should be the primary effort of the United States and the free world if they are to remain free.”

“Russia cannot defeat Ukraine or the West and will probably lose if the West mobilizes its resources to resist the Kremlin,” the analysts write. “If we hunker down and move forward, Russia loses.”


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