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Video investigation: How Russia staged fake anti-Ukraine protests in Paris, Brussels and The Hague

Le Monde
Le Monde
Documents obtained by Le Monde and its partners show how fake demonstrators were recruited and paid to protest against Ukraine and NATO in major European cities. An operation organized by the Russian intelligence services.

"Stop sending weapons to Ukraine! Zelensky is bombing Donetsk and Luhansk!" A single message, written on two signs, identical down to the letter. One sign is brandished during a demonstration against France's pension reform in Paris on February 11, 2023, and the other, during a climate rally in The Hague on January 28.

The same scene is repeated in other images: Each time, a group of three men take pictures of themselves holding signs against Ukraine or NATO. Behind them, the crowd of demonstrators who have come for an entirely different reason gives the impression that their cause is attracting a large gathering. The images are then shared on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.

Le Monde, in partnership with the organization Dossier Center and several European media outlets, has identified a dozen of these fake demonstrations in several European cities. Internal documents from the Russian intelligence services, which Le Monde analyzed and authenticated, show that Russia coordinated these operations.