Update: Kremlin May Be Preparing Major Offensive

In the last week, the Kremlin-controlled outlets still focused very much on the incident in the Sea of Azov, as the European Union’s analysis shows. Apart from trying to blame Ukraine for the incident wherein Russian forces in fact attacked Ukrainian ships, the fresh line of the Kremlin’s propaganda accuses Ukraine of preparing an offensive in the east of the country. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova cites war preparations in The Donbas, accusing Kyiv of plotting an armed provocation by taking advantage of the recently imposed martial law.

Russian programming can have two objectives when spreading this kind of disinformation. By accusing Ukraine of aggression, they can seek to justify future military aggression carried out by the Kremlin. As we have seen with the Azov Sea incident, Russian outlets had already been building up the situation in the information space a year before the incident itself happened.

The second objective might be more subtle – by threatening this kind of aggression, the Kremlin might just be intimidating Ukraine. Spreading fear and nervousness before the elections in March take place could be one of the Kremlin’s key objectives.