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Russia engages in Z-propaganda, losing real warships - UK intelligence

May 25, 2023

Russia conducts propaganda information operations ahead of a Ukrainian offensive. However, its navy remains vulnerable to strikes in the Black Sea.

This was reported by the British Ministry of Defense on Twitter.


According to the summary, analysis by Geollect indicates that since 14 May 2023, commercial vessels’ Automatic Identification System (AIS) data has been remotely spoofed to create the impression of a 65km long Russian pro-war Z symbol on the Black Sea, visible on open source tracking software.

AIS is used to track vessels, including to ensure their safety. Tracks making up the image suggested vessel speeds of up to 102 knots (188 km/h), further suggesting they were fak.

According to British intelligence, pro-Russian actors likely conducted the spoofing as an information operation, potentially in an attempt to bolster Russian morale ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian counter offensive.

"The spoofing of AIS increases the risk of maritime accidents. Despite Russian virtual information operations in the Black Sea, its physical navy remains vulnerable: the Ivan Khurs intelligence gathering vessel was likely attacked on 24 May 2023," the British Defense Ministry noted.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 25/05/2023

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