Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security



Conference Name

19th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, 26-27 March 2024, Johannesburg, South Africa


Information operations have long been a part of warfare. Disinformation campaigns, in particular, are usually launched by states in order to mislead and confuse populations in adversarial countries, but also to obtain support for their actions from domestic audiences. These campaigns threaten human security, at the individual level, but also state- and even international security. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia came with a new wave of disinformation not only in Ukraine itself, but also in countries from various other continents. This paper studies the characteristics of the spread of disinformation from the first day of the war in February 2022 through July 2023. The data we used in this study came from the EUvsDisinfo project, established by the European Union’s East StratCom Task Force in 2015. In particular, we included variables about the topic of these articles containing disinformation, the specific target audience, and origin of the source disseminating the disinformation. The results indicate that the articles concerned predominantly security-focused topics, and to a lesser extent economic and cultural issues. Interestingly, the target audience for the disinformation articles focused predominantly on non-EU/NATO audiences – they overwhelmingly targeted Russian-speaking populations, but also Arab-speaking and Armenian-speaking populations. The majority of the articles were also from Russian sources. The results also provided other additional insights into the characteristics of disinformation during the war which are discussed in the paper as well. Based our findings, we provide policy recommendations for protection against disinformation campaigns for both EU/NATO-members and countries which were affected by these campaigns but are not members of either of these organizations.


© 2024 Lora Pitman, Ava Baratz, Kelly Morgan, Marcy Alvarado.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License.

Original Publication Citation

Pitman, L., Baratz, A., Morgan, K., & Alvarado, M. (2024). Reverse-engineering of disinformation campaigns during the war in Ukraine. In J.D. Toit & B.V. Niekerk (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (pp. 277-281). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited.