NATO summit in focus of hostile propaganda in July – Lithuanian military

  • 2023-08-11
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – July's NATO summit in Vilnius attracted the most attention from hostile propaganda sources last month, the Lithuanian Armed Forces said on Friday.

Other key themes included military support for Ukraine and alleged threats to Russia. 

"Sources controlled by the Russian and Belarusian regimes purposely questioned the very content of the event in order to present it as meaningless and insignificant in both political and defense terms," the military said in a press release.

"The narrative of NATO as an aggressive alliance that is preparing for war was actively exploited, with considerable attention being paid to NATO's defense plans, which were linked by propaganda to tensions in the region and the alleged threat to the Belarusian border and Kaliningrad." 

The Armed Forces' Strategic Communication Department registered a total of 309 unique instances of disinformation on defense issues in the hostile information environment monitored by its analysts. 

The announcement by the Moscow and Minsk regimes in early July of the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on Belarus' territory, which they described as a deterrent in the face of an imminent threat from NATO, is regarded by the Lithuanian military as an attempt to put information pressure ahead of the summit. 

Ukraine remained a key theme in the monitored information field, according to the press release. 

"On the one hand, it was said that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO, but that the West would use Ukraine to wage war on Russia, regardless of the extent of possible casualties and losses in the country," the military said.

"On the other, propagandists argued that Ukraine's admission to NATO would be a logical continuation of the West's policy of Russophobia and warmongering, and that NATO countries' would possibly take part in military action in Ukraine." 

Attempts were also made to convince the public that Ukraine, pushed by NATO, was planning to stage a provocation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the military said, adding that propagandists had also used anti-Ukrainian claims to spread their own narratives.

Attention to LITPOLUKRBRIG, the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade, remained quite high, with claims that the brigade's troops from Lithuania and Poland will enter Ukrainian territory, which Russia will see as the two NATO countries' direct involvement in the armed conflict, according to the press release.

According to military analysts, the Russian and Belarusian regimes' propaganda continued to spread targeted messages to different audiences.

The regimes' propaganda targeting their internal audiences was aimed at maintaining support for military action against Ukraine and hostility towards the West, and that targeting Western audiences sough to reduce support for Ukraine and trust in NATO, and create a positive image of the Kremlin, according to the press release.