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Sow panic. Why is the Russian Federation destroying Kharkov?

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The Kremlin’s propaganda mouthpieces are conducting a coordinated information operation to incite disproportionate fear among Ukrainians.

Kharkov continues to suffer from Russian attacks every day. According to military analysts, the aim of the Russians is to convince the Ukrainians to flee the city and in addition to make millions of people internally displaced.

Information campaigns

Following the Kh-59 missile strike that destroyed the Kharkov TV tower, experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted that Russian state propaganda and “military correspondents” tried to justify the -attack by claiming that Ukrainian forces allegedly installed communications and air defense coordination equipment in the tower.

ISW also recalls the Russian strike on a TV tower in Kyiv on March 1, 2022, an attack shortly after the start of the Russian invasion that is etched in the memory of many Ukrainians. Therefore, experts suggest that now with a strike on the TV tower in Kharkov, the Kremlin may seek to “remind” the first weeks of the invasion to create panic among Ukrainians during a new difficult phase of the war.

ISW analysts emphasize that the Kremlin’s propaganda spokesmen are raising concerns about Russia’s future offensive operations and its hypothetical plans for Kharkov to conduct a coordinated information operation to fueled disproportionate fear among Ukrainians.

ISW assesses the likelihood of Russian success in a ground offensive against Kharkov as very low if Ukraine quickly receives additional US military aid. The Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation warned in February 2024 that Russian Telegram channels were spreading statements about the alleged flight of Ukrainian officials from Kharkov, and Russian sources in early April began claiming that a “mass outflow” of civilians was allegedly taking place from Kharkov. Also, Russian propaganda tries to claim that Ukrainian officials are allegedly preventing the civilian population from leaving Kharkov. And Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov said on March 28 that Russian troops should destroy the Kharkov “blockade” and expressed the idea of ​​inviting the city’s civilian population to leave within 48 hours.

I don’t have enough strength

ISW continues to assess that the Russians lack the forces necessary to capture Kharkov – as long as its defenders in Ukraine are adequately supplied (and they must be supplied that way, as the US must continue the military aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, ISW experts hope).

Experts at the Institute for the Study of War also emphasized that the Russians are intensifying attacks on Kharkov and information operations against its population to take advantage of the current lack of Ukrainian air defenses and a period of heightened tension in Ukraine for what is likely to be. relatively short time before the expected arrival of US military aid in front-line areas.

In particular, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 19 announced Russia’s interest in the operation to capture Kharkov, arguing that the city plays an important role in the idea of ​​Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to create a demilitarized sanitary zone in Ukraine, ostensibly to protect Russian border settlements. from Ukrainian blows. In the Russian imagination, such a “sanitary zone” clearly had to represent a range of conditions from the capture of Kharkov and its surrounding areas to the creation of an uninhabitable zone, a destroyed “no man’s land” with no control on either side.

Air defense is needed

The ISW suggests that Russian military commanders may attempt to destroy Kharkov through air, missile and drone strikes and provoke large-scale internal displacement of Ukrainian civilians if the Russian military decides not to. succeed in taking the city through ground operations. Continued timely military assistance from the United States and the West, in particular providing Ukraine with air defense systems and missiles, will be essential for Ukraine’s defense of Kharkov, ISW summarizes.

Source: korrespondent

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