Attack on UkraineForeign AffairsSpeeches

Boris Johnson – 2022 Comments on Disinformation in Russia

The comments made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, at the Liaison Select Committee held on 30 March 2022.

One of the depressing things is the ruthlessness with which Putin tries to conceal the reality of what is happening from the Russian population. Genuinely, you can ring and talk to Russian friends and they will seriously dispute what is going on in
Ukraine. I am afraid that people are very vulnerable to the lies that Putin is telling, and we have to be extremely energetic in exposing them.

We have a Government information cell that has been going for some time to counter disinformation. You can imagine, Julian [Knight], the sorts of things that it tries to do. Our whole approach has been to try to be as frank with people as we possibly can about what we know and to demystify things. It was the UK and the US that were out there in the beginning saying, “There is a massive problem. There are 100 battalion tactical groups on the borders with Ukraine. We know this,” and we put it into the public domain.

Similarly, when we got information about false flag operations, we immediately put it out into the public domain to try to fight the disinformation with as much exposure of the reality as we can. I think that is starting to have an effect. I think you are seeing signs now in Russia of people waking up to what’s going on.