January 4, 2021
Manipulating the protest moods, based, in particular, on patriotic and religious feelings is the key element to undermine Ukrainian society from within as part of the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. This is stated in the article on the website of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (SZR) on the main external threats to Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“Language and religious issues, problems of external governance of Ukraine are actively used, in particular, due to dependence on the IMF and other Western institutions and governments, provocations with attacks by alleged “nationalists” on representatives of “opposition” pro – Russian forces are being inspired and inflated with information,” the report says.
SZR also defined the confessional situation and the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine as one of the forms of pressure on the Ukrainian state. “The Russian special services, applying levers of pressure on the religious sector, use the Russian Orthodox Church both as a “hard” force (inspiration of protest actions that can easily develop into demonstrative clashes with law enforcement officers or provocateurs) and as a “soft” force (influence on the minds of believers). In this area, Russia uses all available technologies to counteract the process of formation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, manipulating the feelings of Ukrainian believers and trying in every possible way to maintain its influence on them,” the report says.
The agency also points out the threats to create paramilitary formations within religious communities with law enforcement functions and also notes the intensification of the activities of pro-Russian “Cossack” organizations that are trying to duplicate the functions of the police to protect public order at the local level. “The activities of pro-Russian television channels in Ukraine require a comprehensive assessment and response of the Ukrainian state aimed at deterring Russian information aggression,” the SZR notes.
The agency notes that Ukrainian intelligence also pays special attention to countering threats in cyberspace. “Hacker interventions in the operation of critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, inspired by the Russian Federation, are the same tool of hybrid war against our state as armed aggression. Moscow’s cyber militarization threatens not only Ukraine but also other countries that the Russian Federation considers its enemies or competitors. We are talking not only about cyber attacks and obtaining unauthorized access to information and telecommunications systems, but also about attempts to use social networks to manipulate public opinion and destabilize the socio-political situation – the so-called influence operations,” the SZR said in a statement.