“Russia says it hit 17 Ukrainian facilities, and killed more than 200 troops.” “Russia says Ukraine shells its own civilians; some evacuations in Mariupol.” “Lavrov says sanctions being discussed with Ukraine, Kyiv denies it.” “Russia says checkpoint in Kursk region shelled from Ukraine.” “Russia says it hit 389 targets in Ukraine overnight.” “Russia says risks of nuclear war must be kept to minimum, TASS reports.” “Russia says strategic stability dialogue with US ‘frozen,’ TASS reports.”
These are not the headlines of Russian state-controlled propaganda outlets. “Russia says” is seven of the main headlines in the Reuters European desk. International media, unfortunately, continue to give the Russian Federation a voice and, therefore, the opportunity to influence the cognitive space of the Western population, including key decisions and policymakers.
This comes with a risk. The main battlespace of the hybrid war occurs inside the cognitive spaces of populations and key decision- and policymakers.
The strategy exploits the protest potential of the population of both the nation under assault and that of its partner nations. It manipulates and reinforces existing vulnerabilities trying to ignite social instability. It aims to destabilize and undermine alliances, partnerships and nations from within through disinformation. It allows Russia to undermine nations’ legitimacy, credibility, and moral and ethical standpoints, thereby reducing trust and international support.