Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu acknowledged Russia's expanded effort in cyber-warfare for the first time.
Addressing Russia's lower house of parliament on Tuesday, Shoigu said an information army has been established within the Russian military. He did not offer details about the personnel or its targets.
"The information operations forces have been established that are expected to be a far more effective tool than all we used before for counter-propaganda purposes. Propaganda should be smart, competent and effective," he said.
His statement follows allegations of cyberattacks against Western nations, with NATO believed to be a primary target, the BBC reported. The Russian effort is under analysis after accusations that Russian hackers influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential elections to the advantage of President Donald Trump.
Former Russian military commander-in-chief Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, commenting on Shoigu's address, said an information warfare victory "can be much more important than victory in a classical military conflict, because it is bloodless, yet the impact is overwhelming and can paralyze all of the enemy state's power structures."