Delhi ( New Delhi)

‘Russian propaganda promoters list’: NSAB Chairman on Ukraine list, he says claim preposterous

Three Indians, including National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) chairman PS Raghavan, have been included in a list prepared by a Ukrainian government agency that it says is “promoting Russian propaganda”.

Apart from Raghavan – who retired as India’s ambassador to Russia in 2016, others on the list are Sam Pitroda, former chairman of the National Knowledge Commission and journalist Saeed Naqvi.

Published on July 14, Ukraine’s “Center for Countering Disinformation”, lists over 70 politicians, academics and activists who are “promoting Russian propaganda”, including US Republican Senator Rand Paul, former Democrat congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, French right-wing Politicians including Marines. Le Pen, American academic and political scientist Prof. John Mearsheimer and journalist Glenn Greenwald, among

British website Unheard first reported the list earlier this week. It said the centre, which was established in 2021 under President Volodymyr Zelensky and headed by former lawyer Polina Lysenko, sits within Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. Its stated purpose is to detect and combat “propaganda” and “destructive propaganda” and to prevent “manipulation of public opinion”.

While there is no official word from the Ministry of External Affairs, sources said they would look into the issue but did not attach too much importance to the list.

When contacted, Raghavan — who was re-appointed as the NSAB Chairman about a month ago — told The Indian Express: “On the Ukraine list, I do not wish to comment on its origin or significance, except to say that it is preposterous to describe me as a propagandist for Russia (or any other country).”

Raghavan served as Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2000 to 2004 where he looked after foreign affairs, nuclear energy, space, defence and national security, and was a former Indian ambassador to the Czech Republic (2004-07) and to Ireland (2007-11). He was NSAB Chairman from 2016-20 after his retirement and was re-appointed about a month ago. The position was vacant in the interim period in 2021 and the early half of 2022. NSAB is an advisory body that works in coordination with the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which reports to NSA Ajit Doval.

Pitroda said: “I am surprised, shocked, puzzled and perplexed by the allegation from a high-level Ukraine government agency… I would like to take this opportunity to clarify I am no agent of anyone and/or involved in propaganda for no one except Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.”

“I sincerely feel sorry for #Ukraine and other intelligence agencies involved in this propaganda. I wish they had taken some quality time to research before putting big labels on me & others and before going global. It is not fair… Like millions in this world, I want the #UkraineRussianWar to end right now. I do not want to see innocent women & children in #Ukraine being killed, frightened, and displaced. #RussiaIsATerroristState,” he tweeted.

There was no response from the Ukrainian embassy in Delhi on the issue.

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