Pro Publica warns about the fake news and doctored videos that are circulating on the Internet. While some are pro-Ukrainian, most are designed to support Putin’s narrative. The famous Russian troll farm that was active on behalf of Trump in 2016, ProPublica says, is now busily creating phony “fact checks” and disinformation.

It begins:

On March 3, Daniil Bezsonov, an official with the pro-Russian separatist region of Ukraine that styles itself as the Donetsk People’s Republic, tweeted a video that he said revealed “How Ukrainian fakes are made.”

The clip showed two juxtaposed videos of a huge explosion in an urban area. Russian-language captions claimed that one video had been circulated by Ukrainian propagandists who said it showed a Russian missile strike in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

But, as captions in the second video explained, the footage actually showed a deadly arms depot explosion in the same area back in 2017. The message was clear: Don’t trust footage of supposed Russian missile strikes. Ukrainians are spreading lies about what’s really going on, and pro-Russian groups are debunking them. (Bezsonov did not respond to questions from ProPublica.)

In another post, ProPublica reports that the Russian troll farm is branding current events happening in Ukraine as “fake” and “Ukrainian propaganda.” The same sources are creating phony videos and branding them as Ukrainian propaganda. Experts say a recent wave of pro-Putin disinformation is consistent with the work of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a network of paid trolls who attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election...

The pro-Putin network included roughly 60 Twitter accounts, over 100 on TikTok, and at least seven on Instagram, according to the analysis and removals by the platforms. Linvill and Warren said the Twitter accounts share strong connections with a set of hundreds of accounts they identified a year ago as likely being run by the IRA. Twitter removed nearly all of those accounts. It did not attribute them to the IRA...

The most successful accounts were on TikTok, where a set of roughly a dozen analyzed by Clemson researchers and ProPublica racked up more than 250 million views and over 8 million likes with posts that promoted Russian government statements, mocked President Joe Biden and shared fake Russian fact-checking videos that were revealed by ProPublica and Clemson researchers earlier this week. On Twitter, they attacked jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and blamed the West for preventing Russian athletes from competing under the Russian flag in the Olympics...

The Internet Research Agency is a private company owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian entrepreneur known as “Putin’s Chef.” Prigozhin is linked to a sprawling empire ranging from catering services to the military mercenary company Wagner Group, which was reportedly tasked with assassinating President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The IRA launched in St. Petersburg in 2013 by hiring young internet-savvy people to post on blogs, discussion forums and social media to promote Putin’s agenda to a domestic audience. After being exposed for its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election, the IRA attempted to outsource some of its English-language operations to Ghana ahead of 2020. Efforts to reach Prigozhin were unsuccessful.

But it never stopped its core work of influencing Russian-speaking audiences. The IRA is part of a sprawling domestic state propaganda operation whose current impact can be seen by the number of Russians who refuse to believe that an invasion has happened, while asserting that Ukrainians are being held hostage by a Nazi coup.