Russia increases propagand efforts in Eastern Europe in response to NATO build up

Bill Gertz:
Russia is increasing disinformation operations aimed at undermining government and public support for American military forces in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. officials.

The stepped-up disinformation includes creating and circulating recent news stories falsely claiming American soldiers were engaged in sexual misconduct in Poland and were exposed to mustard gas in Latvia.

A more recent example involved a Russian broadcaster falsely attributing a statement on Russian electronic warfare to a retired U.S. general.

A U.S. official in Europe said the military's European Command and the State Department cannot say for sure whether Russia is behind the fake news stories. But the spreading of disinformation is increasing, he said.

"There have been a number of fake news stories, propaganda, lies, whatever you want to call it, over the past two weeks," the official said. "Specifically, in Poland, Estonia, and Ukraine, just to name a few."

The European command and U.S. diplomatic outposts are working to counter the false stories that have spread on the internet and through social media outlets and in some cases have been picked up by Russian state-controlled media.

"Media have recently been flooded with fake news as there has been a growing number of false reports on other NATO activities and different situations involving troops of allied forces," the Latvian Defense Ministry said in a statement this week.

The most recent example involved a video broadcast on the Russian television program Vesti April 14.

The article said Russia was increasing its electronic warfare capabilities and could wipe out the U.S. Navy with a single electronic bomb.

The story was picked up and reported by the British tabloid the Sun and then by Fox News. The Vesti report included a false quote by retired Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, a former commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe.
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There is more.

Russia continues to show its hostile side mainly in response to the sanctions regime against it for its actions in Ukraine as well as in response to NATO's efforts to counter Russian threats to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe.  As the post below indicates, these actions are hurting its position as the chief supplier of natural gas to parts of Europe.

One of the things I noticed about the fake story on electronic warfare, was the complete lack of concern on the part of the US Department of Defense, and military commentators in the media.  If the story were true the generals and civilian military leadership would have been on Capitol Hill discussing the problem and potential solutions.

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