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‘US-UK funded media and PR organisations running Ukraine’s propaganda ops, lobbyists working to send more weapons to prolong the conflict’: Report

StopFake is reportedly funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, Atlantic Council, Czech and UK foreign ministries, and the International Renaissance Foundation, which is funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, as per the article.

A detailed article titled “Ukraine’s propaganda war: International PR firms, DC lobbyists and CIA cutouts” in, written by journalist Dan Cohen has discussed how an extensive, massively funded specialised PR campaign is being run by several entities associated with the governments of US, UK and NATO bodies to portray the war in Ukraine to suit Western agendas.

In the article, Cohen starts how the ‘brilliant’ propaganda by Ukraine is being hailed by several international experts. The strategic communications aimed to depict the Ukrainian military as righteous, tiny heroes standing up to the brutal Goliath that is the Russian military, has been praised openly.

Behind this massively successful propaganda campaign are a group of international PR firms working directly with the Ukrainian foreign ministry, Cohen writes.

‘Massive PR blitz launched within hours’

As per the report, hours after the beginning of the Russian ministry operation in Ukraine, an anonymous figure, who runs a PR firm in Ukraine, had started collaborating with the Ukrainian foreign ministry. Working in collaboration with a wide network of over 150 international PR firms, a massive propaganda blitz was soon launched.

The report says the PR blitz is led by PR Network co-founder Nicky Regazzoni and Francis Ingham, a top consultant closely associated with the UK government. Ingham reportedly sits on the UK Govt Communication Service Strategy and Evaluation Council and leads the membership body of the UK government’s local govt communicators.

The report further states that with the PR firms offering entire teams to help Ukraine, the Ukrainian MFA distributed a dossier containing key messages, approved language, and other details. The dossier is run by one Yuroslav Turbil, a communications specialist who has worked with several US govt organisations.

Dossier contains already debunked lies, Nazi propaganda and racist, hateful artworks

The dossier by the Ukrainian MFA reportedly contains several constructs that have already been proven false. For example the ‘Snake Island heroes’ and the ‘ghost of Kyiv’ stories. Artworks and posters supporting Stephen Bandera, a Nazi collaborator who led OUN-B, an organisation that had murdered thousands of Jews and ethnic Poles during WWII find prominence.

The dossier celebrates Molotov cocktails as ‘Bandera smoothie’, lists Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, and Syria as “incurable diseases”, and includes derogatory, racist and violent depictions against Russians, and Putin. It also contains page links for foreign ‘volunteers’ to sign up for fighting in Ukraine.

False claims and fear-mongering

The said dossier also contains several claims that have already been debunked. ‘Key messages’ aimed primarily at spreading disinformation and panic among people in Europe. For example, it says “entire Europe was put on the brink of a nuclear disaster when Russians began shelling the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.”

This was a fake claim. Similar fake claims were made by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and his ministers, trying to spread panic over an ‘imminent nuclear disaster’. In reality, the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed that the building that was hit in Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant was not a part of the reactor. No radiation leak had happened and the Russians had put the NPP back on the grid soon after taking control.

Cohen further writes that the dossier also claims that Turkey had ‘blocked access to Russian warships to the black sea”, while in reality, Turkey had banned all warships, including those from NATO nations from passing the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.

How NATO-backed entities used Facebook to block Russian media

The article further says Facebook has acted against Russian state-run media outlets, censoring several of them, upon recommendations from a self-proclaimed ‘fact-checking’ portal called StopFake. StopFake is reportedly funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, Atlantic Council, Czech and UK foreign ministries, and the International Renaissance Foundation, which is funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, as per the article.

“StopFake was hired by Facebook in March 2020 to “curb the flow of Russian propaganda” but was found to be employing multiple figures closely tied to violent Neo-Nazis. The journalist who co-authored the exposé received death threats and ultimately fled Ukraine”, Cohen writes.

The article further names PR and experts like Nataliya Popovych, co-founder and board member of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, a propaganda arm funded by the US Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Embassy, and NATO, among many others including CEO of Edelman PR Richard Edelman, who is a member of the Atlantic Council’s board of directors.

CIA-linked organisations provide the content for PR, says report

The report further says that the content for the PR campaign is largely derived from specific media outlets run by billionaire foundations. At the core of it all is a project called ‘Russian Language News Exchange’, which was founded by opposition media outlets in ex-Soviet nations. Several journalists from these outlets were reportedly flown to Warsaw in 2021 to participate in a training program.

While the Russian Language News Exchange claims to be ‘independent’, Cohen writes that it is a project by Free Press Unlimited, funded by the Dutch government and European Commission. The 14 media outlets included in it act as nodes, cross-publishing and amplifying each other’s reports in various countries.

The website’s introductory video is by Maxim Eritsavi, head of the Millennium Leadership Program at NATO. On March 4, Free Press Unlimited had launched a project called Media Lifeline Ukraine to raise funds for pro-Ukraine coverage. They soon announced a joint project with the Institute of Mass Information, which is funded by USAID, and the UK government.

‘Lobbyists in USA getting US congress to approve more and more weapons for Ukraine’

Cohen writes that while PR firms are working to build public opinion around Ukraine and against Russia, some dedicated lobbyists are working in Washington DC to get the US Congress to approve more and more weapons for Ukraine.

Daniel Vajdich, one of the ‘lobbyists’ named in the article reportedly wrote Zelenskyy’s recent speech to the US Congress, citing Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ quote to ask for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Another lobbying firm SKDKnickerbocker’s MD Stephen Krupin had reportedly written the speech for the Ukrainian Permanent Rep. to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya’s Feb 23 speech at the UNGA. Krupin was a former speechwriter for Obama and had worked also in the Biden campaign.

The other lobbyists working for the Ukrainian government in the USA cited in the article include Andrew Mac from Asters Law, Global Strategy’s Shai Franklin, and a Maryland-based lawyer named Lukas Jan Kaczmarek.

In conclusion, the article adds that a Ukrainian defeat is imminent and can only be prevented if NATO joins the war, a possibility that has been ruled out by US president Biden. However, a number of PR groups and lobbyists are working relentlessly to promote the Ukrainian side as brave heroes who are fighting a desperate war against Russian aggressors and facilitating the flow of massive amounts of weapons into the country, thus, prolonging the conflict.

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