Russia launched a new propaganda information channel at the end of March 2023 with the intention of tricking and influencing Ukrainians. Named "Mriya" (which means 'dream' in Ukrainian), possibly in reference to the largest Ukrainian Mriya aircraft destroyed by Russians during the military invasion of the Kyiv region, it tries to pass itself off as being part of Ukrainian mass media.

 The attempt to associate the channel with Ukraine goes beyond the channel name.. Programs on the channel have titles such as “Good Evening, We are from Ukraine,” “This is Coffee. Morning Show,” and “Results of the Week.”

 Some hosts tout Mriya as “the only opposition channel” in Ukraine. On the video banner, the text “Ukraine without Ze” (referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky) – “is a dream” appears.

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 However, the content of this “dream” reveals that it has nothing to do with Ukraine, evident from the information presented and the assembly of hosts and experts participating in the discussions.

 Their most prominent figure is Andrey Ponomar (real name – Ponomarenko). He began his political activities in the information space in 2020 by creating a Telegram channel of the same name. There, he started disseminating pro-Kremlin and anti-Ukrainian messages.

 According to the Ukrainian newspaper Detektor Media, his blog gained popularity after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022. During this time, the channel's audience grew by 2,533 percent.

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 Information about Ponomarenko’s background, place of residence, and origin could not be determined. Neither Russian nor Ukrainian websites provide information about him.

 Kyiv Post also found Pavel Kukharkin among the channel hosts. He has long been associated with pro-Russian forces and worked for the Klymenko Time resource from 2017 to 2022. The project is owned by Alexander Klimenko, the former Minister of Revenue and Duties of Ukraine, and a member of the team of the fugitive former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is hiding in Russia.

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 Dmitry Vasilets, another frequent speaker on the channel, had constant collaborations with pro-Russian TV channels in Ukraine until February 24, 2022, and also worked in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia since 2014, according to information from open sources.

 Together with Ponomarenko, Vasilets established the so-called “Representative Office of the Ukrainian People” to hold the “people’s Veche for the declaration of protection of the Ukrainian people.” Participants of the Veche claim that a “NATO occupation regime” has been established in Ukraine and demand Zelensky’s removal from the presidency.

 Similar manipulations are heard on the Mriya channel. The project participants attempt to implant the idea into the  minds of the audience that Ukraine can’t exist without Russia and that immediate negotiations are necessary, warning of the prospects of hunger and cold if not acted upon.

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 They face challenges in promoting the propaganda channel among Ukrainians. The participants acknowledge during broadcasts that they are frequently blocked on YouTube. However, they are actively expanding their presence on Telegram. Currently, the channel has nearly 155,000 subscribers, although it is unknown whether all of these subscribers have genuine profiles. 

Kyiv Post has contacted the Main Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service of Ukraine regarding the Mriya project, and they have promised to investigate the information.

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