Russian Blame Game Sows U.S. Discord To Weaken Ukraine
Kremlin-spawned influence campaigns that falsely accuse Ukraine of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have successfully furthered Russia's yearslong geopolitical battle against its largest European neighbor.
Why it matters: In addition to deflecting blame for its own well-documented meddling in American politics, the Kremlin has an interest in making support for Ukraine a more polarizing, partisan issue in the U.S. American military assistance is critical to Ukraine's efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression and territorial incursion.
Driving the news: U.S. intelligence officials briefed senators in recent weeks on the Russian campaign to frame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The briefing also covered the evolution of the Kremlin's tactics, including a much improved ability to cover its tracks.
- On Thursday, former top National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified that the Ukraine conspiracy theory is "a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."
- After Russian military intelligence poisoned former British-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the U.K. in 2018, Russian state-controlled news agencies promoted conspiracy theories about alternate culprits, including the U.S., the British government, a drone and even Yulia Skripal’s future mother-in-law.