Ukraine has ‘won war on social media hands down’ as President Zelensky a ‘godsend’

Zelensky calls on world to show support for Ukraine

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Social media has been a key battle ground in armed conflicts over the last decade and Russia’s five-week war in Ukraine is no different. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, 44, has harnessed the power of Twitter and other platforms during the conflict to disrupt the Kremlin’s propaganda machine and dispel online disinformation. The fresh-faced leader has uploaded rousing speeches, often containing simple messages, in a bid to rally Ukrainians behind him.

His posts have also chronicled the devastating attacks on his nation by Russian troops at the orders of President Vladimir Putin.

Most recently, Zelensky has been tweeting regular updates from the peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow in Turkey this week.

According to political expert Peter Frankopan, the Ukrainian leader has “won the war on social media hands down”.

The professor of global history at the University of Oxford, claimed he was a “godsend” for Ukrainians.

He told “I think that Ukraine has won the war on social media hands down.

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“You know, a President who understands the power of the media and understands how to use his own image is a godsend in a war situation.”

Zelensky’s media strategy was also praised by Sir Jeremy Fleming, head of UK intelligence agency GCHQ, who gave a speech in Australia on Wednesday night.

He said: “It’s clear that Putin has miscalculated. President Zelensky’s information operation has shown itself to be extremely effective.

“It’s agile, multi-platform, multi-media and extremely well-tailored to different audiences.

“One only has to look at the way Ukraine’s flag – a field of sunflowers under a sky of blue – to see it flying everywhere, including outside GCHQ, to see how well the message has landed.”

The President’s credentials as a media-savvy world leader are not limited to his use of social media.

His comfortable on-screen presence is enhanced by his previous career as an actor before he came to power in 2019.

In a remarkable foreshadowing of his current role, Zelensky played the President of Ukraine in popular sitcom, ‘Servant of the People’.

His character, a disgruntled schoolteacher, makes the unlikely ascension to enter the country’s highest office.

One feature of Zelensky’s media strategy during the current conflict has been his speeches to lawmakers around the world.

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His addresses continued today as he appeared via video link in the Australian and Dutch parliaments, where he called for stronger sanctions against Moscow and a boycott of Russian energy exports.

Amid Zelensky’s appeals to politicians abroad, there have been claims by Kyiv in recent weeks that Russian advances on the ground in Ukraine are stalling in some areas and that Putin’s troops are even deserting.

Asked about the reports, Prof Frankopan said: “The Ukrainians have been fantastic at communicating to the outside world what is going on.

“And at explaining the horrors and the tragedy too.

“I think that it is very difficult to authenticate verified individual reports of mutinies and so on.

“But it is clear that Ukraine has put up a much stronger fight than the Russians had been expecting.”

He added: “I think that as Putin now gets the chance to draw breath it also will focus the minds of NATO states.

“Particularly in the UK. What more can we be doing to fortify Ukraine’s defence if it does go wrong again.”

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