‘Beating Russia at its own game’ British intelligence stopping Putin win propaganda war

Boris Johnson addresses 'ruthlessness' of Russian propaganda

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Defence journalist Con Coughlin said that the country’s efforts have debunked “the Kremlin’s attempts to persuade the outside world that Mr Putin’s ‘special military operation’ is nothing more than an attempt to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.” He added: “The everyday flow of Western intelligence has also succeeded in providing an up-to-the-minute account of the grim reality of the conflict”, noting that the West has been made aware of “the appalling atrocities committed by Russian forces, which in some cases clearly constitute war crimes”. 

Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on the grounds of “denazification” of Ukraine but there is very little evidence to support this claim.

Meanwhile, since the invasion began, Russian forces have been accused of multiple war crimes, including the murder of civilians and soldiers using children as human shields.

Mr Coughlin said that the UK’s current approach to intelligence is a “marked improvement” compared to previous conflicts.

He said: “The spooks’ success in helping the outside world comprehend the reality of the Ukraine conflict is certainly a marked improvement on their public contribution to previous conflicts.

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“Forty years ago, when I covered the dreary Ministry of Defence briefings on the Falklands campaign for the Telegraph, it was almost impossible to get Whitehall to provide an accurate picture of how the war was progressing.

“Much has changed since then, not least the development that Russia, Iran and other hostile regimes now use fake news and cyber warfare to undermine the morale and political stability of their opponents.

“Belatedly, the West has woken up to the importance of responding robustly to this threat.

“In Britain, for example, the formation of the Army’s new 77th Brigade has been specifically conceived to provide the military with the ability to thwart Russian cyber attacks, as well as their attempts to present a false narrative on the Ukraine conflict.”

Writing in the Telegraph, he added: “Judging by their performance to date, we are not only playing the Russians at their own game, we are winning.”

Just last week, intelligence chief Sir Jeremy Fleming revealed that Putin’s advisers were reportedly “afraid to tell him the truth”, causing the Russian President to have “overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory”.

Throughout the conflict, the UK Ministry of Defence have provided regular updates, highlighting the scale of Russian losses.

And before Putin began his invasion of Ukraine, UK intelligence chiefs warned of his intention to do so.

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Mr Coughlin’s comments come as Putin’s operation in Ukraine appears to have descended into chaos.

The Russian army began a retreat from Kyiv last week, after saying it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv.

This is despite Putin previously suggesting that capturing the capital and toppling Zelensky’s government was an objective.

The retreat came after the Russian defence ministry said that the “first phase” of operations was complete, adding that it would now “focus” its “core efforts” on the Donbas region.

Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy added: “The main objectives of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished”.

Ukraine estimates that 15,600 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting so far.

This figure would mean that more Russian soldiers have died in around a month of fighting than those that were killed during the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted for a decade.

2,000 Russian military vehicles are also thought to have been destroyed or captured.

Between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed so far, according to US estimates.

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