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War in Ukraine: – Error: It could be the beginning

War in Ukraine: – Error: It could be the beginning

On Wednesday, several official Russian media outlets claimed that a “Norwegian mercenary” had been killed in Ukraine. They pointed to a video allegedly showing an attack on what is believed to be a Ukrainian trench at an unspecified location in Ukraine.

At the end of the video, two men appear lying on the ground, motionless. Russian media claimed that one of them must be a Norwegian foreign fighter. In the video you see a uniform bearing the Norwegian flag.

However, the video is organized, beats can actually be verified solid. Read the entire case, the “Actual Verification” case at the bottom of this case.

Dagbladet is also in contact with a number of people with backgrounds in the defense and intelligence services who say the video bears clear signs of being manipulated and staged.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asks countries to reconsider restrictions on the delivery of supplies to Ukraine. Video: A.B
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– For the benefit of Russia

Tom Roseth, senior intelligence instructor at the Norwegian Defense Academy (FHS), says it cannot be ruled out that a Norwegian national was indeed killed in Ukraine, but in this case it is unlikely to have happened as the video claims. Displays.

– When you fail to prove the central claim, there is every possible reason to question the rest of the information. It is in Russia's interest to promote that it is at war with NATO as a whole, and therefore Norway is of interest as a member state, Roseth, who heads the Ukraine program of the Federal Ministry of Health, tells Dagbladet.

Gives permission for weapons to Ukraine


Roseth is supported by Eskil Grøndal Sivertsen, a special advisor at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI), who, among other things, conducts research on cognitive warfare and influence operations.

One of the central parts of Vladimir Putin's narrative is that Russia's war in Ukraine is actually a war with the West. These videos will be proof of this, both for home audiences, and also to create doubt in certain settings in the West. The key step in propaganda, says Sivertsen, is to build evidence that the propaganda narratives are true.

Ukraine: On May 13, Ukrainian forces resisted a six-hour Russian attack in the village of Klychevka in Donetsk. Reporter: Edward Steinlund. Video: Social Media/5th Brigade Separate Assault in Ukraine.
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This is what the video reveals

In fact, Verifiable and the experts Dagbladet spoke to, independently of each other, highlight many of the same things that show the video doesn't document what it claims to document.

The most obvious include:

  • It appears that the hideout in which the two men lay motionless was not affected even after a hand grenade exploded there.
  • The smoke and dust from the explosion recedes abnormally quickly after the explosion.
  • The second soldier, presumed to be Russian, who appeared in the video, appears to be not wearing combat gear and carrying a weapon in his hand shortly after he stormed the hideout.
- it's time

– it's time


– In general, acts of war appear to be very organized. It's about how soldiers move, how they shoot, how they look and don't look for cover, and how they enter cover. It was also supposed to be full of dust and physical damage, but it looks the same, says FHS's Roseth.

Faktisk Verifiserbar also highlights many technical reasons for video, including video editing.

Exit to Stoltenberg: Vladimir Putin suggests NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg is suffering from dementia after discussing the use of Western weapons against targets in Russia. Video: AFP / TASS. Reporter: Vegard Krüger/Dagbladet TV.
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That could be the goal

Why was Norway highlighted in a curated video? nowmay be linked to several recent Norwegian decisions, believes FHS's Roseth.

Among other things, Norway recently imposed entry restrictions on more Russian citizens.

– Trying to influence public opinion in Norway and Scandinavia in general is an interesting matter for Russia. This may be mostly aimed at a domestic audience, but it may make parts of public opinion in the West think: “Oh my God, this is no use.” Roseth says he is also trying to question the role of the Norwegian authorities in the war.

- They benefited from

– Benefit from the “free zone”


The video also sees Russia's statements that the Scandinavian countries will be subject to American influence in the future.

– This may indicate that the Russians themselves are planning to try to influence Scandinavia itself. Scandinavia is interesting because these countries are members of the European Union, with the exception of Norway, and NATO. Together, these elements are important for NATO's northern flank, Roseth says.

Out to Norway: Russia threatens to take revenge on Norway as a result of the new Norwegian rules. Video: NTB/Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Reporter: Vegard Krüger/Dagbladet TV.
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– Typical style

The video, as far as Dagbladet has been able to determine, was first posted Wednesday evening Russian time on Russian state media's Telegram channel.

It was then covered by other Russian state-run media, and published by Russian war bloggers.

As of Thursday, it had also begun circulating in English-language Telegram groups, and was also posted on several YouTube channels. Some groups and channels are relatively well-known for sharing information about the war in Ukraine, others appear to be newly created, while there are still others that regularly exchange material in support of Russia.

Weapon deliveries: - Increased risk of sabotage

Weapon deliveries: – Increased risk of sabotage


This is consistent with what FFI researcher Sivertsen described as a “typical dissemination pattern” of information from Russia aimed at influence.

– Often starts on Telegram, often in collaboration with state media and Russian proxy sites. Their origin is often mysterious, and when they flourish a little in the Russian ecosystem, they then appear in other languages ​​with online newspapers that appear real but are fake, Sivertsen says.

It is too early to say whether this is the case now.

– Early detection and situational awareness are important in the information environment. He says that if Norway becomes part of or a target of a targeted influence operation, it is essential to be on the ball early so it can limit its effects.

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