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Ukraine rallies the Twitter troops as Russia invades

Chris Velazco, @chrisvelazco
August 28, 2014
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Strange as it may seem, wars aren't just fought with bullets and bombs anymore. Tweets and shares can at times be equally potent, and that's probably why Ukraine mounted a social offensive yesterday after Russian troops began engaging with domestic forces in the border town of Novoazovsk. The country's Foreign Ministry implored Twitter users retweet its message and to use the hashtags #RussiaInvadedUkraine and #UkraineUnderAttack to spread the word of Russia's incursion. It looks like the plan's working, too. #RussiaInvadedUkraine is the more popular of the two hashtags, and according to Topsy, it's been deployed in over 400,000 tweets over the past 24 hours.

Alas, perhaps the best tweet on the matter was issued by Canada's NATO delegation, and lacked either hashtag. Unsurprisingly, Russia continues to deny its move into Ukraine's sovereign territory, though it's since been legitimized by US intelligence and images released by NATO. As The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor points out, this is far the from the first social media showdown that Ukraine and Russia have been embroiled in. Back in April, Russia's own foreign ministry hijacked the #UnitedForUkraine hashtag promoted by the US State Department with tweets throwing Ukraine and its allies under the bus.

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