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New propaganda tool in Ukraine

Argazkia: Emile Ducke - The New York Times

Drones have become real stars of the war in Ukraine, but not so much in the traditional battlefield, but in a field that also corresponds to war, but which is very different: war propaganda. Moscow and Kiev use the videos recorded by unmanned aircraft to feed their information war and try to influence citizens according to their interests. Social media,
Telegram groups and, in general, Internet armies and soldiers, Ukraine and Russia have broadcast the recordings of drones. Images showing the destruction of the enemy, videos of utterly crushed cities or “successful” attacks to reduce the enemy’s morale.

In some videos Ukrainian drones rob wally talkies from the Russian army, there are drones that rescue fallen drones behind enemy lines, small drones launch grenades inside a tank, drive away and record explosion, deadly descent of kamikaze drones… These are very real and, although hard, very propagandious situations. Evidence of this is paradigmatic the one disseminated at the end of 2022. The Ukrainian army released a video in Russian to explain to enemies how to surrender to a drone. In this viral video, recorded in a trench next to Bajmut, a Russian soldier appears to avoid shooting by blinking a drone. Then, through another drone, the Ukrainian army sends the Russian soldier a note written in a pen that says, "Yield and follow the drone." He then ceases the soldier, releases the weapon and follows the drone until he reaches Ukrainian forces and is a prisoner.

Ukraine has also attacked civilians with small drones in different parts of Russia. Militarily, they are banal attacks, but the real goal is to record and disseminate them as propaganda. They want to remind Russian society that they are at war and that, although they are thousands of kilometres from the front, they are "military objectives".

The massive use of this subjective and near-war perspective is one of the novelties of this war. It is no longer striking to have at the disposal of anyone with Internet access thousands of videos recorded on the same front of the war and almost directly. Propaganda has always been one of the main weapons in wars and today more than ever.

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