DFRLab: How Ukraine fights Russian Disinformation

3 February 2024. A recent research report by Hybrid CoE, a joint project of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), looks at Ukrainian best practices in countering disinformation, particularly in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Many of these practices are the result of an evolution that spans the decade since the Euromaidan Revolution.

“Ukraine has been on the front line of Russia’s information aggression ever since the Euromaidan revolution and Revolution of Dignity in late 2013 and early 2014,” the report says. “The ‘most astonishing blitzkrieg of information warfare we have ever seen in the history of information warfare’ has turned into an information war of attrition that has lasted a decade. In that time, the Ukrainians have gained important experience and honed their best practices. However, it was only after 24 February that many Western observers began to pay more attention to Ukraine’s struggle in the information space.
A key point of the research report is that Ukrainians expect their Western partners to take Russian disinformation seriously and actively counter it. Ukrainians remain concerned about the success of Russian disinformation abroad. As a nation under attack, they also propose an ‘information bloc’ to provide support not only with weapons but also in the information space. Ultimately, Ukrainian civil society remains dependent on Western support.

The focus of the report is on Ukraine’s efforts to counter Kremlin disinformation, rather than a deep dive into the narratives spread by the Kremlin’s disinformation machine. For those interested in the content and goals of Russia’s information aggression, the authors recommend the DFRLab report Undermining Ukraine: How the Kremlin employs information operations to erode global confidence in Ukraine from February 2023.