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US and Poland set up center to fight ‘Russian disinformation’ 

The Warsaw-based facility will detect “deceptive narratives” on the Ukraine conflict, the US State Department has said 

 

The United States and Poland have launched an international group based in Warsaw to counter what they describe as Russian disinformation on the Ukraine conflict, the US State Department has announced.  

The Ukraine Communications Group (UCG) is designed to detect “deceptive narratives” from Russia targeting Kiev and “amplify Ukrainian voices,” the State Department said in a statement on Monday.

James Rubin, the head of the department’s Global Engagement Center responsible for tracking disinformation, said the idea of setting up the UCG came from Washington and was eagerly embraced by Warsaw, which takes the “threat of disinformation similarly seriously.”

“The challenge in information warfare is not only to know what the Russians are doing, it’s to also figure out what are the best ways to combat it,” Rubin told reporters.

The group will be based at a Polish Foreign Ministry site in Warsaw and will involve representatives from 12 countries including Canada, France, Germany, Finland, Italy and several other NATO member states, as well as Ukraine itself, the US diplomat announced.

Tomasz Chlon, the Polish Foreign Ministry’s plenipotentiary for counteracting international disinformation, told Polskie Radio that around a dozen experts permanently based on site will “coordinate communication priorities and the production of audiovisual materials” to crack down on Russian news.

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“These actions will be directed in particular to Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Western Balkans, where the air is thick with Russian disinformation,” he added.

Establishing the UCG in Warsaw was a logical move because of the number of international officials who pass through Poland while traveling in and out of Ukraine, according to Rubin.

Since the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities in February 2022, the West has barred multiple Russia-associated media outlets from engaging with audiences in the US and the EU. The European Commission has announced sanctions on RT and Sputnik, suspending their TV broadcasting licenses and blocking both websites for readers across the EU.

In its latest round of restrictions in May, the EU blacklisted four more media outlets over allegations that they had spread Russian propaganda.

Moscow has accused Brussels of duplicity and attacking freedom of speech with its sanctions. The campaign to undermine the work of Russian news organizations long predates the Ukraine conflict and is aimed at preventing European citizens from hearing opinions that their governments deem undesirable, Russian officials have claimed.

June 13, 2024 at 03:56PM
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