The situation of the Russian-Ukrainian war was not as good as Moscow’s plan, but the Russian army launched a series of “hybrid warfare” offensives on and off the battlefield since before and after the war. What elements does this new form of modern warfare contain, and how can it create advantages for Russia?
On February 24th, when Russia entered Ukraine, in addition to the offensive of the army, navy and air force, the Russian cyber army also launched a multi-level offensive. Ukrainian political, financial, military, media and many infrastructure network systems have been blocked by DDoS attacks, and international public opinion Russia has also launched a disinformation war with major media.
A photo of information warfare attack and defense
The independent American photographer Wolfgang Schwan went to the suburbs of Kharkov, where the fighting was fierce, and took pictures of Olena Kurilo, a woman who was injured by the Russian bombing and immediately It became the headlines adopted by major international media, and this photo also became the best portrayal of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Alexander Alimov, immediately counterattacked through Twitter, calling the woman an actor and posting two other photos of similar-looking women appearing on other occasions in Kyiv. Russian media also reported that Olena’s photo was taken in 2015. A synthesis of old news from the Battle of Bath.
However, The Intercept, an independent news network in the United States, pointed out that in addition to Schwan, Olena was interviewed by two other independent reporters, Justin Yau and Alex Lourie, and the interviews were shot and videotaped directly through the camera, so it can be determined that the photo is from Carl on February 28. In the suburbs of Cove, in addition to the comparison photos proposed by Deputy Ambassador Alimov, there is a considerable gap in appearance with Olena Kurilo herself.
Using fake news to smear the truth, the main goal is not to confuse black and white, but to provide resources for pro-Russian mass war of words, and to win over neutral ethnic groups to create the perception that “the United States and Russia are as bad”. The online pen battles that modern people are accustomed to are actually part of the Russian hybrid war.
What is hybrid warfare?
The term “hybrid warfare” was first proposed by Frank G. Hoffman, a professor at the National Defense University in the United States in 2007. It refers to the integration of traditional, political, cyber and asymmetric warfare, with diplomatic, legal, disinformation or A new mode of warfare that interferes with elections and other means to achieve political goals and avoid subsequent responsibilities and retaliation.
Although hybrid warfare and Grey Zone Conflicts are similar in concept, grey zone conflicts do not include regular warfare methods that are also used in hybrid warfare. Terms such as hybrid warfare, gray zone conflict, and irregular warfare (Irregular Warfare) are often used interchangeably as definitions remain controversial.
“Cognitive control” is the core goal of hybrid warfare
The 2003 Russian annual defense white paper also stated that in the future, Russian military operations will incorporate various non-traditional methods, including the use of disinformation, cyber attacks and proxy forces (Proxy Forces), combined with traditional force, to quickly destroy or control enemy communications, political After the war and the military center, make the opponent’s command incapacitate and complete the goal.
Former Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov explained in detail the framework, state classification and operation methods of Russia’s mixed strategy. This theory has been verified in Estonia, Georgia and Crimea, so Europe and the United States called this strategy For the “Gerasimov Doctrine” (Gerasimov Doctrine).
Greshimov pointed out that the use of various tactics in hybrid warfare is aimed at “perception control”, from international and private channels, to create as much as possible unfavorable cognition to the target country’s government, and then to the country’s leadership. Class pressure, even splitting the cabinet team, ultimately made decisions in Russia’s favor.
At present, the strategic use of Russian hybrid warfare, with special emphasis on the use of non-military means to expand the internal disputes of the target country, in order to implement cognitive control, there are 11 main methods, these cognitive control methods must be adjusted according to the situation during the preparation, execution and completion of the target. Use, and can not be interrupted, otherwise the control effect will soon disappear.
Application of Hybrid Warfare in Russian-Ukrainian War
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in July 2021 that Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are all inseparable parts of the East Slavic nation, that Ukraine has no point in becoming an independent country, and that it has been trying to rewrite history for many years is unacceptable behavior for Moscow.
In a televised speech in February this year, Putin accused Ukraine of becoming a country full of neo-Nazism, carrying out genocide against local Russian residents in the Donbas region, so Russia is obliged to intervene humanitarianly and officially recognize Donetsk and Luhansk Independence of the People’s Republic.
During the process of the army buildup, Russia used a mixed warfare strategy, constantly releasing inconsistent information, and repeatedly denied sending troops to Ukraine. The army buildup was purely for exercises. Putin and cabinet officials have repeatedly ridiculed the West for deliberately exaggerating the Russian threat, just to trigger a war to weaken Russia. .
In particular, after Bloomberg accidentally reported the fake news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 4, although it immediately withdrew and issued an apology statement, it also caused the Russian state media to ridicule and make many signs of the Russian military’s pre-war preparations covered by other information.
At the same time, the Russian army gathered in the border city of Belgorod and pressed against the second largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv. In addition to putting pressure on the Kyiv authorities, it also misled the public to believe that if the Russian army wanted to send troops, the goal would be to Complete control of the Donbas region, replicating the Crimean model.
Therefore, from the end of 2021 to mid-February 2022, Ukraine has always been hesitant about whether a war will break out. President Zelensky still publicly refuted the war warnings of Europe and the United States until early February, saying that Ukrainian intelligence showed that there was no immediate threat of war. Russia and Russia are still conducting diplomatic negotiations, which shows that Russia’s mixed warfare strategy successfully delayed Kyiv’s reaction time in the preparation stage for the war.
After the United States announced for the first time that the Russian military would launch a full-scale offensive on February 16, Russia, in order to confuse international audiences, announced on February 15 that some of the exercise troops were withdrawing from their original locations, and released videos of the withdrawal of troops through state media, making most international media believe that the crisis or will end.
On February 21, Putin suddenly announced that he would carry out “special operations” in the Donbas region, and once again stated that he had no intention of occupying Ukrainian territory, deepening the view that this was a recurrence of the Crimean model. The United States did not even identify Russia for the first time. The military dispatch was an act of aggression. It was not until the Russian army attacked Kyiv through Belarus that the world confirmed that Russia’s real intention was to overthrow the Zelensky regime.
Taiwan must learn to deal with hybrid warfare
As far as the current situation is concerned, if the Russian army had locked its strategic target in the Donbas region, it would not have been too difficult to press the situation with nearly 200,000 troops. As Saifanburg performed beheading tactics, the scale far exceeded the sum of Russia’s past mixed warfare experience.
Therefore, the Russian army is currently in a quagmire, and the tactics are returned to the traditional tactics of the Chechnya period, and the army is occupied after the carpet bombing.
Although the Russian army’s preparations were quite successful, Putin made a wrong assessment of Ukrainian high-level officials and the will of military and civilian resistance, which made the decapitation tactic fail. The prolonged war made logistics scheduling unable to keep up with the demand, and also lost the cognitive control effect of Greshimov Doctrine.
Although the Russian hybrid warfare is not as successful as in the past, the hybrid warfare technology developed in the past 20 years has become a reference target for the PLA’s full development. Taiwan can observe the new application of hybrid warfare technology in this conflict and develop complete countermeasures as soon as possible. , including information security protection, rapid response to false information, and more in-depth intelligence analysis and public opinion control. After all, what Taiwan is facing is not just a “little pink”, but a real “Internet army.”