Over the past few days, Russian propaganda masterminds have been trying to launch a number of disinfo spins targeting Ukraine, in the context of Libya war.
This is not the first time that Russian propaganda is attempting to drag Ukraine into the Libyan conflict by focusing the attention of the international community on its neighbor and away from the fact of own military presence and war crimes committed in Libya.
For example, last year they tried to accuse Ukraine of “smuggling weapons” by cargo aircraft, on which Khalifa Haftar-led forces started an actual hunt, even despite the fact that the aircraft in question had been performing flights in the interests of the ICRC.
Then, against the backdrop of another escalation in Libya, Russians tried their obsolete propaganda manuals to accuse Ukraine of sheltering GNA fighters who were allegedly Islamic State terrorists.
Then came some weird “leak” of what purportedly was a piece of radio comms, allegedly, between Ukrainian mercenaries in Libya. The recording was so dubious in nature that it never made news outside Russia where infotrash consumers might find such reports legit.
Now that Haftar’s Russia-supported renegade “Libyan National Army” is suffering major losses as the UN-recognized Government of National Accord advances, much due to the assistance in planning military operations on the part of the Turkish Armed Forces, Russian propaganda is once again resorting to ridiculous attempts to compromise Ukraine.
For example, last week, MiG-29 fighter jets and Su-24 bombers were deployed to Libya. Against the background of their origin being widely discussed on social networks, Russian propagandists span fake reports claiming that those warplanes could be piloted by Ukrainian crew. Of course, this was aimed at discrediting Ukraine both in the eyes of a wider international community, including and most importantly in the eyes of its Turkish partners.
The most absurd allegation in that story was a claim that Haftar might be interested in the Ukraine-modernized MiG-29MU2, which allows these fighter jets to carry not only air-to-air missiles, but also air-to-surface ones.
But the thing is though that the MiG-29MU2 project is now only undergoing flight tests, so no matter what Russian amateurs of the propaganda craft may say, those planes just couldn’t have made it to Libya. Another funny moment in these reports is due to a flashback to when Ukraine revealed plans to upgrade the MiG-29 for the use of air-to-surface missiles. Back then, Russian experts all trumpeted that the idea was futile and that Ukraine would definitely fail. At the same time, however, Russia immediately launched their own similar project, which has so far yielded no results.
When Russian mercenaries hired by Wagner PMC were forced to flee from the areas around Tripoli and leave behind the body of one of their comrades-in-arms, Russian propaganda claimed it was a Ukrainian shrink Andriy Kuzmenko, who had allegedly been abducted by the GNA six months ago and was now killed only to have his body dressed in Wagner uniform to pose as a Russian mercenary.
Well, that blunder was refuted right away as Mr Kuzmenko – who is very much alive – recorded a video address to decry fake news.
Thus, we can clearly note the general direction of Russian propaganda efforts aimed to compromise Ukraine in the Libyan bridgehead. Now it’s not only about the alleged “arms smuggling” but also “fighting on the side of Haftar”, an adversary of Turkey supporting the GNA in Tripoli.
But, as time shows, not only are all such attempts way too primitive, they are also performed poorly as they get debunked by facts and rebuttals almost immediately.
On the other hand, given the rising scale of fiasco of Russia’s Libya ambitions, the kremlin will keep building up information attacks with Ukrainian overtones.
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