SCOTTISH disinformation groups have been spreading claims that Ukraine orchestrated the bombing of its own civilians at a maternity hospital.

An investigation by The Ferret has uncovered a network of groups on the messaging app Telegram who go by the name the White Rose.

Members of the Scotland-wide group share content from Russian state-funded network RT, which is now banned in the UK, as well as claims that Ukraine is governed by neo-Nazis.

READ MORE: Digging into the real-world impact of disinformation and conspiracy in Scotland

Hate movement researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue Jacob Davey said: “There is this new cohort of people living in a parallel universe and on the one hand this does potentially represent a security risk.

“We’ve seen in Germany, for example, the murder of a gas station attendant by one of their anti-lockdown conspiracy theorists. We’ve seen arson attacks in the Netherlands.

“That’s not to fearmonger but I think there is the risk that this community could become more radicalised and all the data points we have point towards conspiratorial thinking and conspiracy theories sharply upticking globally, but certainly in the UK as well.”

While most contributors of the White Rose remain anonymous, the Ferret has revealed that the University of Glasgow’s Dr Alan McManus has shared anti-Ukraine content within the group.

McManus reportedly described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “panto” and said the pro-Ukrainian cone now seen on Glasgow’s Duke of Wellington statue was “hideous propaganda”.

The National:

SNP MP Stewart McDonald (above) said: “Whoever is running these campaigns, whether they’re domestic or foreign, they do largely target disenfranchised groups.

“They don’t create division; they find the divisions that exist in a society and then attempt to bolster them. Hostile state disinformation activity in the UK presents a very real threat.”

Foreign and defence policy expert Elisabeth Braw, at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), suggested the Russian state has targeted those who are vulnerable to state-sponsored propaganda.

She said: “What Russian propaganda does is focus on disaffected groups. They don’t just share messages and hope that the entirety of the population will somehow pick up their side of the story.”

Read the full investigation in the Sunday National