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Poland, US launch group against Russian disinformation on Ukraine

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WARSAW: The United States and Poland on Monday launched a multinational group based in Warsaw to counter Russian disinformation on the war in neighbouring Ukraine, the US State Department said.

James Rubin, special envoy and coordinator of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which tracks foreign disinformation, announced the Ukraine Communications Group initiative in Warsaw.

“The UCG will bring together like-minded partner governments to coordinate messaging, promote accurate reporting of Russia’s full-scale invasion, amplify Ukrainian voices and expose Kremlin information manipulation,” the State Department said in a statement.

Rubin said the group, involving around a dozen Western representatives, would be based at a foreign ministry location in the Polish capital.

“Countries that have agreed to participate include Ukraine, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia,” Rubin told reporters.

He added that NATO and the European External Action Service – the EU’s foreign diplomacy arm – would also participate.

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“We believe that getting a group of people for the first time in a room… 10, 11 people sitting together with their government support, will improve our ability to respond to the Russians’ information warfare about the Ukraine war,” he said.

NATO-member Poland has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, and is a main country for transferring Western weapons and munitions to Kyiv.

Its state news agency, the Polish Press Agency, was last month the target of what the government called a likely “Russian cyberattack”, after a false story appeared on its wire saying that Poles would be mobilised to fight in Ukraine.

Rubin said Warsaw was a perfect partner for the initiative as “Poland and the United States take the threat of disinformation similarly seriously”.

But unlike Russia, he said, “the West is coming to the game late in the game”.

“For decades, Russia has seen disinformation and the information domain as a main area of their foreign policy making,” Rubin said. “This adversary spends billions of dollars to manipulate the global information space.”

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