Thursday Briefing

A Ukrainian soldier loading a howitzer, near Bakhmut last year.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Russia intensified online efforts to derail Ukraine funding

Russia is escalating its efforts to undermine military funding for Ukraine from the U.S. and Europe, according to disinformation experts and intelligence assessments. One of the Kremlin’s main tactics is amplifying online arguments for isolationism ahead of the U.S. elections.

The stepped-up operations, run by aides to President Vladimir Putin, come at a critical moment in the debate in the U.S. over support for Ukraine. Russian operatives are laying the groundwork for what could be a stronger push to support candidates who oppose aiding Ukraine, U.S. officials and independent researchers say.

Investigators say that firms working in the “Doppelgänger” network are creating fake versions of real news websites in the U.S., Israel, Germany and Japan, among other countries. U.S. officials noted that these techniques make identifying Russian operations particularly difficult.

American intelligence agencies do not believe the Kremlin has begun its full-bore influence effort. Putin will probably shift to influence operations that more directly support former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

More Russia news:

  • Ethnic tensions: The Kremlin is pushing back against anti-migrant sentiment amid concerns that last week’s shooting could spur ethnic strife. Four men from Tajikistan have been held as suspects in the terror attack.

  • Capital punishment: The attack has prompted some Russians to call for bringing back the death penalty.

A damaged building in Kiryat Shmona, near Israel’s border with Lebanon.Credit…Ariel Schalit/Associated Press
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