A European Commissioner on Tuesday specified that France, Germany and Poland all have become targets for Russia’s “massive disinformation attacks” in the run-up to European Parliament elections, which run from June 6-9.

“There are three big countries under permanent attack (from Russia). And it’s France, it’s Germany, and it’s Poland,” said Vera Jourova, the EC’s Vice President for Transparency and Values.

Jourova had just returned from meetings in the US with leaders of social media platforms, such as YouTube and X.

One such fake-news campaign making headlines on Tuesday was an AI-generated audio file mimicking the actor Tom Cruise to narrate a so-called documentary entitled “Olympics Has Fallen.” The video has been circulating since the fall of 2023, masquerading as a “Netflix” documentary.

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Jourova reported that the disinformation campaigns in Germany attempt to fan the flames of concerns over migration and security. In Poland, she said, they try to frame the presence of Ukrainian refugees there as a burden on society, citing a false story that appeared on state-run media claiming that Poles would be mobilized to fight in Ukraine.

AFP reported that Microsoft President Brad Smith also shared such concerns during a visit to Brussels to meet with EU officials.

“The number one abusive AI case that people are worried about is the risk of deep fakes influencing elections, especially deep fakes that come from foreign governments,” Smith said. “We’ve definitely seen the Russian government investing in that capability.”

EU’s Michel Blasts Orbán As Row Over Hungary’s Diplomatic Push on Ukraine Intensifies
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EU’s Michel Blasts Orbán As Row Over Hungary’s Diplomatic Push on Ukraine Intensifies

The Council’s legal service told EU envoys last week that Budapest’s actions could constitute a breach of the bloc’s treaties.

Zelensky and Macron to continue talks in Paris about deployment of military instructors

President Volodymyr Zelensky and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will meet in Paris on June 6, the Elysée confirmed on Tuesday, in a visit that may set the stage for a decision about sending French troops to Ukraine.

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“Amid the intensifying Russian attacks in the combat zone and on the power infrastructure, both presidents will discuss the situations on the fronts and Ukraine’s needs,” Macron’s office announced. Macron spokespeople described the meeting as a “continuation of the Conference in Support of Ukraine held at the Champs Elysees on 26 February,” when Macron first proposed the scenario of sending Western troops to Ukraine.

A day after he and other Western leaders will celebrate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Normandy’s Omaha Beach, Zelensky will be welcomed by French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, and will visit a weapons manufacturer, KNDS, near Paris.

The group makes artillery guns used in Ukraine, AFP reported.

The Ukrainian President will then deliver a speech in France’s National Assembly and meet with the speaker of that lower house of parliament, Yael Braun-Pivet.

 

Ukrainian men taken prisoner by Russians tell CNN about sexual abuse in gory detail

On the same day that Kharkiv’s governor announced that Russians in occupied Vovchansk have set up filtration camps, where torture is common, US cable news CNN on Tuesday published interviews with several Ukrainians who told stories of being beaten and electrocuted by their Russian captors.

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Electrocution of genitals and threats of rape and sodomy were a common thread.

One 39-year-old farm manager, Roman Shapovalenko, told the journalists that masked Russian officers of the FSB security service came to his home in occupied Kherson in 2022, tied him up, blindfolded him, and brought him to a torture chamber. There he was repeatedly beaten and electrocuted in his genital area.

“They seemed to have a fetish for genitalia,” Shapovalenko recalled. “Sometimes the door would open, and they would say: ‘We’re going to take out our batons and we’re going to rape everyone here.’”

Another man, a 29-year-old military intelligence officer named Roman Chernenko, said he was tortured several times a day for four months, including through the use of a technique called “tapik.”

“Tapik is a military phone with two wires. One is connected to your balls, the other to your finger, and they just keep turning the current up,” he told CNN. “They just keep twisting it until the person tells them what they need.”

On Tuesday, Kharkiv’s regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, told a national news program that occupying forces in Vovchansk have set up filtration camps there to document those civilians who have not evacuated. Many Ukrainians who have passed through these camps reportedly have been tortured, and some of them deported to Russia.

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Russian officers on the ground say AFU drones are decimating their troops and tanks

A number of Russian military bloggers cited by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have been vocal in their complaints of the battlefield situation as there are just too many Ukrainian drones wreaking havoc.

One of them claimed that Ukrainian assault groups have a three- or four-to-one drone advantage over Russian assault units, while mechanized groups from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) have a six- or even ten-to-one drone advantage over comparable Russian units. Specialized drone teams within existing AFU ground units have allowed them to integrate drone capabilities into basic tactical maneuvers, he said, something the Russians lack. In fact, Moscow has no centralized drone division within the Ministry of Defense, he complained.

One blogger, who led Russian troops on the Avdiivka front, gave a similarly grim assessment of his forces chances when faced with such an army of UAVs.

“So how do things stand now? Crappy. From October to the present, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been slowing down and stopping our offensive in one area or another with the help of special (separate) UAV detachments – a new type of troops in the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he wrote.

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“The result is dozens of knocked out and destroyed tanks and infantry fighting vehicles/armored personnel carriers/MTLBs near Avdiivka, the failure of the original plan to break through the front…”

 

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