In a series of recriminations between Ukraine and Russia, Kiev alleges that Moscow falsified allegations of arrests of Ukrainian neo-Nazis in order to start an “information war”. Russia recently announced the arrest of 106 supporters of a group of young Ukrainian neo-Nazis for planning mass murders. Among the arrests carried out in 37 Russian regions, two partisans planned attacks on educational establishments. The prosecution and arrests came after Ukraine touted the possibility of a Russian invasion, presenting increased tension between neighboring countries. Moscow has refuted the invasion allegations.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), arrested Ukrainians identify with the MKU, which state television says means “Maniacs.” Cult of murder. The FSB also claims that Ukrainian intelligence services sponsored a Ukrainian who created the MKU. All statements made by the FSB were refuted by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), which further accused the FSB of “a coordinating information operation which should only be viewed through the prism of war. hybrid”.
Ukraine is not alone in worrying about the Russian aggression in recent months. The United States, along with Western capitals and Ukraine, recently raised concerns about a build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Since the fear allegations were made, Russia has continued to launch hostile rhetoric against Ukraine and has denied any plan of attack. The United States believes that Russia might provoke Ukraine recently to justify military aggression and move forward. According to Moscow, NATO and Ukraine are at the root of the heightened tensions between states. Russia’s concern over the possibility of NATO granting membership to Ukraine may be the reason for the troop build-up and Ukraine’s claim of “information warfare.”
Ukraine’s allegations of Russia’s “information war” are just the latest in a series of mutual recriminations between states. Ukraine last month accused Russia of aiding an alleged coup plot against President Volodymyr Zelensky. Earlier this month, Russia said the FSB arrested three suspected Ukrainian secret service agents, including one accused of plotting to use homemade bombs in an attack. Both sides vehemently denied all of the other’s claims.
If what NATO members have alleged against Russia is true, then action is needed before Russia escalates the conflict from troop building and arrests to violence and invasion. Today Russia demanded that NATO withdraw from Eastern Europe and stay outside of Ukraine. The demands are part of a new proposal for a security deal between Russia and NATO, which would establish Cold War-style security agreements in the region. NATO officials immediately rejected the proposal, which included a pledge to reject Ukraine’s candidacy and future candidacies to join the organization. Russia’s demand for pure sovereignty in Eastern Europe shows hypocrisy, as the state has continued to threaten Ukrainian peace for decades. Sanctions and interventions against the state may be necessary to prevent the “information war” from escalating into a full-fledged war that would inevitably involve the international community.
Russian-Ukrainian relations have been difficult for decades. The 2004 protests that sparked the Orange Revolution took place to topple pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and saw Viktor Yushchenko take the presidency. After the overthrow, Russia restricted Ukraine’s gas supply and depleted the value of the Ukrainian currency amid a global financial crisis. When Viktor Yanukovych won the 2010 election and reclaimed the presidency, pro-Russian and pro-Western tensions within Ukraine intensified a long-term intra-state divide.
Yanukovych resigned in 2014 in a revolution resulting from his decision to reject a deal that would have tightened ties between Ukraine and the European Union. After his resignation, Russia reacted again, this time by completely annexing the Ukrainian region of Crimea through an unrecognized referendum. In addition to intensifying divisions within Ukraine, the US and the EU have intervened through sanctions against Russia. NATO has since officially recognized Ukraine as a Enhanced Opportunity Partner, and Ukraine’s candidacy for membership has scared Russia, which lost membership following the 2014 interventions. For more information, read our crisis index.