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Security Brief: EUCOM Week of April 10, 2022

April 10-13, 2022 | Issue 3

Pètra van de Gevel, Benjamin Brooks, Martyna Dobrowolska, EUCOM Team

Demetrios Giannakaris, Editor; Jennifer Loy Chief of Staff



Injured pregnant woman laying on a stretcher in Mariupol[1]



Date: April 10, 2022

Location: Frankfurt and Hanover, Germany

Parties involved: Germany; German citizens; German law enforcement; German extremist groups; Pro-Russia supporters; Pro-Ukraine supporters; Russians living in Germany; Ukrainians living in Germany

The event: Pro-Russia supporters demonstrated in Frankfurt and Hanover against hate speech and discrimination toward Russians living in Germany. Counter-demonstrations by pro-Ukraine supporters against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine coincided. Protests in both cities were predominantly peaceful. Germany is now home to around one million people of Russian origin and 325,000 people from Ukraine.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • A prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict will very likely result in increased protests, likely increasing hate speech and discrimination against Russians and Ukrainians living in Germany. As the conflict escalates, demonstrations will very likely increase. Opposing viewpoints on the conflict will very likely result in friction, likely resulting in the groups physically assaulting each other during demonstrations. German law enforcement will very likely be unable to prevent and control future demonstrations, very likely increasing instability across Germany.

  • As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, protesters will very likely target Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Germany. Protesters will likely deface or damage the embassy and will likely target embassy employees and Russian and Ukrainian nationals working there. German law enforcement will very likely increase its presence at these embassies to deter protesters from targeting such buildings.

Date: April 11, 2022

Location: Mariupol, Ukraine

Parties involved: Technological company, Meta; Russia; Russian government; Russian State media; Pro-Russia supporters; Ukraine; Mariupol; Ukrainian government; Ukrainian civilians; United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

The event: Due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, there is a significant Russian military presence in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. After multiple Russian attacks in the city have been shared online, comments suggesting fabrication of the attacks have surfaced on Meta social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Both on State television and in front of the UNSC, the Russian government has claimed the victims in Mariupol are actors helping the Ukrainian government, which has increased the targeting of these civilians online.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Russia will very likely continue to use footage from the conflict zone for propaganda to highlight a successful military advance in Ukraine, very likely increasing the engagement of its supporters on social media. This will very likely make social media platforms a threat to Ukrainians, as these platforms could very likely incite hatred towards them among Russian citizens. Russian citizens will very likely support the military advance in Ukraine due to state propaganda, likely empowering its government’s objectives.

  • Russian citizens will likely believe the state propaganda that civilian casualties are Ukrainian actors and if more attacks occur in Ukraine, this belief will very likely be amplified. If Meta continues to allow the spread of misinformation on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the risk of violence against Ukrainian citizens will likely increase. Ukrainians living in Mariupol will likely face physical harm from pro-Russia supporters as they can use the videos to locate and confront them.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from a damaged maternity hospital in Mariupol on March 9” by manhhai licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Pro-Russia Supporters Rally In Germany, Face Off With Counterdemonstrators, Radio Free Europe, April 2022, https://www.rferl.org/a/germany-pro-russia-rallies-discrimination/31795983.html

[3] How Meta fumbled propaganda moderation during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters, April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/technology/how-meta-fumbled-propaganda-moderation-during-russias-invasion-ukraine-2022-04-11/

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