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Putin targeting schoolchildren in occupied territories with propaganda

Russia, which with its air strikes has destroyed several Ukrainian schools, is ramping up its internal propaganda by targeting schoolchildren in Ukrainian regions occupied by Moscow’s troops, the UK Defence Ministry said.

In its latest intelligence update on the conflict in Ukraine, the British MoD said a new history textbook is to be introduced within weeks.

The book, to be studied by students in occupied Ukraine, “praises” the war launched by Moscow in February last year and depicts Kyiv as an “ultra-terrorist” country.

The MoD briefing read: “A new textbook on the history of Russia will be issued to schools in the occupied regions of Ukraine and throughout the Russian Federation from 1 September 2023.

“The book praises the so-called special military operation and describes Ukraine as an ultra-terrorist state.”

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Since the launch of the illegal full-scale invasion, Russia has addressed the war as a “special military occupation” with the goal of “demilitarising” and “denazifying” Ukraine.

Moscow, the MoD continued, is trying to create a “pro-Kremlin information space” in the occupied regions – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, annexed in September 2022 – in order to “erode Ukrainian national identity”.

The update also read: “In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the occupation administration received instructions from Russia regarding the introduction of new standards for the accreditation of educational institutions.”

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These attempts are seemingly being closely monitored, with the First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Sergey Kiriyenko, travelling to Donetsk on August 15 to visit schools and check their integration into the Russian education system.

Moscow is also deploying pro-Kremlin journalists in local media outlets to deepen the forced integration.

This comes as Ukraine continues its counter-offensive operations on the eastern and southern frontlines.

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Just on Wednesday, Ukrainian forces claimed back the village of Urozhaine which, despite being the former home of just a few hundred people, is of key strategic importance as it widens the presence of Kyiv’s forces in Donetsk and helps the push towards the Azov Sea.

Signs of war were seen once again also in Moscow, which in the early hours of Friday accused Ukraine of launching a drone attack on a building in its central business district.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said air defences had shot down the drone, and its debris fell on the city’s Expo Center. Ukraine hasn’t yet claimed responsibility for this attack.

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