France uncovers Moscow-based propaganda network

Illustrative image. Photo: Free sources

French security experts have uncovered a Russian disinformation network called “Portal Kombat” that is actively spreading pro-Kremlin narratives to undermine support for Ukraine in Western countries.

This was reported by the French state agency Viginum, created in 2021 to protect against foreign digital interference, and French government.

The agency found at least 193 sites that whitewashed false claims that Russia’s “military operation” and accused the West of threatening Russia. The experts analyzed the period between September and December 2023.

“The main objective seems to be to cover the Russo-Ukrainian conflict by presenting positively ‘the special military operation’ and denigrating Ukraine and its leaders,” the French report said.

French officials add that Russia’s disinformation campaign goes beyond the war in Ukraine. Russia strives to confuse voters ahead of elections in the US and European countries, undermine some candidates’ campaigns and support the others, and impede major sporting events, for example, Paris Olympics.

“These channels also publish on other topics close to French-speaking conspiracy spheres, which tend to question political speech, the media or various decisions taken within international organisations such as NATO, the UN or the EU for example,” Viginum said.

“In the European Parliament, in the United States, in India, in many places around the world elections will become the prime targets for malign foreign actors, as we have seen last year in Spanish elections,” earlier Josep Borrell, EU’s top diplomat, warned.

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