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    ISW: Russian Milbloggers Voice Fear over Prospect of Counteroffensives in the Russian Information Space

    The Kremlin is not interested in real negotiations and is shifting responsibility for possible talks to the West, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assesses in a recent report. It stresses that Russia is trying to put pressure on the West to force concessions from Ukraine ahead of its planned counter-offensive.

    “The Kremlin continues to indicate that it is not interested in legitimate negotiations and places the onus for any negotiations on the West,” ISW writes, analysing a speech by Russian diplomatic chief Sergey Lavrov.

    During his visit to Turkey, Lavrov said, among other things, that Russia is not refusing to negotiate, but is making consideration of “legitimate” Russian interests and goals a condition.

    “Concerns about losing more occupied territory in Ukraine during an expected upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive may be prompting the Kremlin to intensify an ongoing information operation intended to pressure the West to offer preemptive concessions and coerce Ukraine into negotiations on conditions more favourable to Russia,” ISW assesses.

    Fear of a Ukrainian counter-offensive

    The US analysts also refer to the leaked material revealed by the New York Times, which purports to be secret documents regarding a future Ukrainian counteroffensive. According to the ISW, regardless of whether the documents are genuine, and on this, the centre is not prepared to speculate, the publication has provoked a fearful reaction in the Russian information sphere, especially among so-called war bloggers.

    “The response of Russian milbloggers to the New York Times story highlights the fear of prospective Ukrainian counteroffensives pervading the Russian pro-war information space,” the centre’s experts comment.

    According to them, the publication revealed a hotspot in Russian information circles, and reactions to the documents may indicate a revision of previous assessments made by ‘war bloggers’ and their ability to forecast the actions of the Ukrainian side.

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