Nato sees sharp rise in Russian ‘fake news’ since Crimea seizure
There is increasing concern among senior Nato and EU officials over Russia’s ability to use television and the internet to spread what they claim is disinformation
Nato has accused Russia of waging a disinformation campaign since the Kremlin’s 2014 seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region, claiming Russian websites such as Sputnik and RT posted false stories.
There is increasing concern among senior Nato and EU officials over Russia’s ability to use television and the internet to spread what they claim is fake news. The defence alliance of 28 democracies says it has recorded more than a score of Russian myths in the last two years which it has tried to knock down with fact sheets, interviews, rebuttals and videos.
“Nato has been dealing with a significant increase in Russian propaganda and disinformation since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014,” spokeswoman Oana Lungescu insisted.
She said a website set up by Nato in 2014 “catalogues 32 Russian myths about Nato systematically used by Sputnik, RT and a range of other outlets owned or controlled by the Russian government”.
Lungescu said the most recent disinformation occurred earlier this month when Russian news website life.ru published a fabricated voice recording of Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with a Russian prankster pretending to be Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
“Such a call never took place and this was an obvious example of disinformation,” she said.
Russian authorities have in the past denied seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of other states. Russian state-funded media deny acting as the propaganda arm of the Kremlin. They say they present an alternative viewpoint that is ignored by the mainstream Western media.