May 21, 2022

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Why do the British share intelligence on Ukraine?

Why do the British share intelligence on Ukraine?

“This British openness will not surprise Russia,” said Ker Giles, a Russia specialist associated with British think tank Chatham House. “It fits with the Russian narrative that Ukraine is the game of the West, with a larger war going on between Russia and the West. But the British stake seems to surprise the Russians. Only a few high-ranking officials in the Kremlin are known about the Russian invasion plans thanks to the warnings of Britain and the United States.”

However, the risks of sharing this information publicly are limited, says Willemijn Erdts, a lecturer and expert in security services at Leiden University: “The British will not share information that should really be kept secret. They also ensure that what they are part of cannot be traced back to Sources “.

Historian Cormack says it’s also worth the risk: “British intelligence has never before chosen to share information via social media on a daily basis. Their goal is to counterbalance Russia in the information war. By sharing what is already inside Ukraine, you happen to go the opposite way” .

Impact on the audience

In this way, Pronk adds, you not only inform the public, but also influence it: “We read about Russian losses and the actions of Russian soldiers. We read a little about the Ukrainian army. The picture that appears in this way helps build an alliance. Ukraine’s allies are ready to supply arms, partly on the basis of This information, and the people of those countries are aware of it.”

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However, the intelligence services are sometimes wrong. It was British intelligence services, among others, who claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, something which later turned out to be incorrect. According to Cormack, this cost the British intelligence services a lot of confidence, but a lot has changed twenty years later.

“While making mistakes is inevitable, I am convinced that British intelligence is not knowingly lying about Ukraine,” Cormack said. “Successful intelligence operations benefit from credibility. British disinformation would have no chance of success and would be extremely harmful if deployed. It is not worth the risk. Moreover, the situation in Ukraine is already so dangerous in itself that there is no mention of it at all.” You need to lie.”