Categories
Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open newsletter – february 25, 2022

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact, reactions) 

Brookings

Even before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine earlier today, several commentators, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, argued convincingly that a Russian occupation of more of Ukraine, perhaps including Kyiv, would lead to an insurgency like that which the Soviet Union faced in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Defeat in Afghanistan was a major factor in the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and ultimately the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” It is important to understand how the Soviets were defeated by the mujahideen in the 1980s to understand if Ukraine could be a repeat. Bruce Riedel: Could Ukraine be Putin’s Afghanistan?

Defense News

American and NATO air forces are bolstering their stance in Eastern Europe after Russia launched its opening gambit in a far-reaching invasion of Ukraine on Thursday. The scope and speed of Russia’s military reach into the country has prompted Western officials to quickly decide on next steps, after weeks of vowing not to send reinforcements into Ukraine itself.

The German Ministry of Defense has notified citizens about potential disruptions in the country’s transit system, as Berlin implements NATO guidance for quickly moving troops to reinforce allies. Sebastian Sprenger: German defense ministry preps citizens for possible military movements

Ukraine’s defense minister made a direct plea to the U.S. Congress on Thursday to send his besieged nation anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles through Poland to help it repel Russia’s military assault on Ukraine. Joe Gould: ‘We need as much Stinger and anti-tank weapons as possible,’ says Ukraine’s defense minister

Top U.S. space officials this week said it’s likely Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will extend to space, predicting continued GPS jamming and spoofing and urging military and commercial space operators to be prepared for possible cyber attacks. Courtney Albon: US space officials expect Russia, Ukraine conflict to extend into space

In the early morning of Feb. 24, Russia began a fresh invasion of Ukraine. Data from a recent report compares the military forces of the two countries and provides details on the Russian-backed separatist forces in Donetsk and Luhansk. Chris Martin: A graphical comparison of Russian and Ukrainian military forces

Ukrainian websites were paralyzed by denial of service cyberattacks ahead of Russia’s overnight offensive, with analysts discovering data-corrupting malware coursing through the country’s computers shortly thereafter. The sites for Ukraine’s defense, foreign affairs and interior ministries, among others, were knocked offline Feb. 23, according to the government, as Russian forces moved in. Explosions were reported around the country — including near the capital, Kyiv. Colin Demarest: Ukraine pelted with cyberattacks ahead of Russian assault

As Russian forces launched an invasion of Ukraine, a bipartisan chorus of U.S. lawmakers broadly condemned the invasion and urged the Biden administration to further impose swift and painful sanctions on Moscow. And some lawmakers called for the U.S. to bolster NATO allies, and provide Ukraine with additional assistance or defensive aid to help fend off the attack, which began early Thursday local time. Stephen Losey: Congress urges ‘crushing’ sanctions, bolstered NATO defenses after Ukraine assault

Defense One

Missiles hit Kyiv and ground troops advanced on Thursday as Russia’s armored invasion of Ukraine proceeded from the north, south, and east. World leaders condemned Russia and Vlaidmir Putin, and vowed to support and assist Ukraine, but offered no additional troops to help Ukrainians face the Russian onslaught. Kevin Baron: World Leaders Vow Retribution as Russian Forces Press Deeper into Ukraine

Russian air and land forces are pressing into Ukraine from three sides in Europe’s first full-scale military conflict in decades, and also its first of the social-media era. Statements, video, and still images captured and distributed by officials, militaries, journalists, the public, and inevitably, provocateurs and propagandists, suggest that the three-way Russian advance is being contested yet moving ahead. Caitlin M. Kenney, Kevin Baron: The Battle for Ukraine: What We Know So Far

President Joe Biden warned Thursday that the federal government would respond to Russian aggression in cyberspace. “If Russia pursues cyberattacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond,” Biden said in the White House East Room. “For months, we’ve been working closely with the private sector to harden our cyber defenses, sharpen our ability to respond to the Russian cyberattacks as well.”. Frank Konkel: Biden ‘Prepared to Respond’ If Russia Cyberattacks US

While most U.S. politicians roundly denounced Russian leader Vladimir Putin for launching the first European war in decades, some also took the opportunity to attack President Joe Biden. As the first Russian missiles hit Ukraine, Democrats and Republicans quickly called on the Biden administration to enact harsher sanctions against Russia than it previously was willing to levy, and to increase aid to Ukraine. Some Republicans also banged the drum for increased U.S. energy production and more emergency U.S. defense spending. Jennifer Hlad: US Politicians Use Russia’s Invasion to Attack Putin—and Biden

American aerospace and defense manufacturers could be caught in the crossfire as U.S. and western governments seek to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. Russia accounts for a relatively small but important part of such companies’ supply chains and customer base. They buy Russian metals, including titanium, and export parts and commercial aircraft to the country. Marcus Weisgerber: US Defense Firms Could Take Hit as West Sanctions Russia

Reuters

Russian gas giant Gazprom is set to resume gas supplies via the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline from Poland to Germany later on Friday amid high demand in Europe, especially from Italy, an industry source said. Russia set to resume westbound gas flows via Yamal-Europe pipeline shortly – source

Russia will use money from its rainy-day fund this year to replace shortfalls caused by a forced reduction in state borrowing, which has grown more costly due to new Western sanctions, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday. and : Russia to tap rainy-day fund as sanctions hit borrowing abilities

Ukraine’s financing needs after the Russian invasion will be massive and the European Union will have to come up with the money, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday. EU will have to match Ukraine’s massive financing needs -EU Commission

Stocks around the world were rebounding on Friday and U.S. Treasuries were selling off as investors welcomed coordinated Western sanctions on Russia that targeted its banks but not did not block it from a global payments system and left its energy sector largely untouched. : Stocks rebound from Ukraine panic, oil back below $100

Bosnians recalled the trauma of their own war as they protested on Friday against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, urging the world to learn the lessons from their experience. Bosnians, remembering their own war, protest in support of Ukraine

Russia’s embassy in Lebanon was surprised by the Lebanese foreign ministry statement that condemned the Russian military operations in Ukraine, it said in a statement on its Facebook page. Russia says it is surprised by Lebanon’s condemnation of invasion

The international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is setting up a logistics hub in Budapest to bring aid supplies to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, and is making preparations for an influx of refugees, the German Red Cross said on Friday. Red Cross sets up international aid supply network for Ukraine

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said lawmakers are ensuring that $600 million for “lethal defense weapons” previously approved for Ukraine is being delivered to battle Russia’s unfolding attack. U.S. providing $600 mln for Ukraine defensive weapons -House Speaker Pelosi

Britain said on Friday that Russian armoured forces had opened a new route of advance towards Kyiv, and that the bulk of troops remained more than 50km from the centre of the city. UK says Russian forces opened new route of advance towards Kyiv

Venezuela, a close ally of Russia, blamed NATO and the United States for the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian troops were advancing on the capital a little more than a day into their invasion of the neighboring country. : Venezuela blames U.S., NATO for Ukraine conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian military to seize power in their country on Friday, a day after Moscow launched an invasion of its southern neighbour. Putin calls on Ukrainian military to seize power to better negotiate with Russia

Russian missiles pounded Kyiv on Friday, families cowered in shelters and authorities told residents to prepare Molotov cocktails to defend Ukraine’s capital from an assault that the mayor said had already begun with saboteurs in the city.  : Ukraine capital girds for Russian assault

The benchmark Japan-Korea-Marker (JKM) price for liquefied natural gas (LNG) jumped nearly 28% on Friday on fears of disruption to global energy and commodities after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. : JKM LNG price for April jumps 28% as Ukraine conflict escalates

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday the option of cutting off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payments system remained open, but that he viewed this only as a last resort. Cutting Russia off SWIFT is “very last resort” -France’s Le Maire

European stocks rose on Friday following Wall Street’s dramatic late rally, as investors welcomed coordinated Western sanctions against Russia that targeted its banks but left its energy sector largely untouched. Tommy Wilkes: Stocks stage tentative rebound after coordinated sanctions on Russia

Russia has banned British airlines from landing at its airports or crossing its airspace, its state civil aviation regulator said on Friday. Russia closes its airspace to British airlines

China stuck to its message on Friday of refusing to call Russia’s action in Ukraine an “invasion” or criticise Moscow despite intensifying assaults from Russia’s military in the Eastern European country which are leading to growing casualties. China refrains from condemning Russia despite intensifying Ukraine attack

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold talks with officials from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics of eastern Ukraine on Friday on their plans to open embassies in Moscow, Russia’s foreign ministry said. Russian foreign minister to hold talks with Donbass officials on Friday

Hungary will open a humanitarian corridor for citizens from third-party countries like Iran or India fleeing Ukraine, letting them in without visa and taking them to the nearest airport which is Debrecen, the Hungarian foreign minister said on Friday. Hungary opens humanitarian corridor for third-country citizens fleeing Ukraine

Ukraine’s nuclear agency said on Friday it was recording increased radiation levels from the site of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Ukraine nuclear agency reports higher Chernobyl radiation levels due to heavy military equipment

Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough. : Russian troops advance on Kyiv as Ukrainian leader pleads for help

The top Ukraine official in South Korea said on Friday that his country wants to request Seoul’s assistance in boosting its cybersecurity capability to defend against Russian attacks. : Ukraine asks for S.Korea cybersecurity aid amid Russia invasion

Chipmaker TSMC is fully committed to complying with new export control rules, the company said on Friday, after Taiwan’s government said it would join international sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. Taiwan’s TSMC says to comply with export control rules on Russia

The United States on Thursday restricted exports to Russia of a broad set of U.S.-made products as well as foreign-produced goods built with U.S. technology, following the invasion of Ukraine, : Explainer: The new U.S. export rules designed to freeze Russian tech

Taiwan will join “democratic countries” in putting sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, the government said on Friday, with the world’s largest contract chipmaker TMSC adding it would comply with all export control rules.  : Taiwan to join ‘democratic countries’ in sanctions on Russia

Asian markets rebounded on Friday following Wall Street’s surprising overnight reversal, as investors weighed the longer-term impact of tough Western sanctions against Russia after it unleashed troops, tanks and missiles on Ukraine. : Asian shares rebound but markets eye long-term Russia-Ukraine risk

Ukraine’s central bank has banned payments to entities in Russia and Belarus as well as operations involving both nations’ currencies, the regulator said on Friday, a day after Russia launched a full-scale invasion. Ukraine central bank bans payments to Russia, Belarus

Alaska’s Anchorage Airport said airlines have started making inquiries about capacity in case routes over Russia are impacted due to the Ukraine crisis, in a sign of the conflict’s growing fallout for the global aviation industry, : Airline industry shifts attention to Russia risks after Ukraine closure

Members of the U.S. Congress said on Thursday they could approve hundreds of millions of dollars in additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine starting as soon as next week, to boost the government in Kyiv after Russia invaded.  : U.S. lawmakers look to spend big to boost crisis-hit Ukraine

When Russia attacked Ukraine, the nearest naval vessel of a major NATO ally was in the Mediterranean. The last such ship from a major naval member of the Western military alliance left the Black Sea – an area roughly the size of California bordering Russia, Ukraine and NATO members Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania – over a month ago. , : NATO leaves Black Sea exposed as Russia invades Ukraine

Australia imposed more sanctions on Friday against Russia targeting several of its elite citizens and lawmakers, and said it was “unacceptable” that China was easing trade restrictions with Moscow at a time when it invaded Ukraine. Australia imposes more sanctions on Russia, criticises China’s response

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed on Friday to stay in Kyiv as his troops battled Russian invaders advancing toward the capital in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two. : Ukraine’s president vows to stay put as Russian invaders approach

The Hill

Eleven years ago — in March 2011 — former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) attacked President Barack Obama‘s leadership on the international crisis in Libya. The crisis resulted from a civil war, spurred by the “Arab Spring” anti-government protests sweeping through the Middle East. B.J. Rudell: Playing both sides in war: Trumpist hypocrisy and opportunism on Ukraine

The Jamestown Foundation

Moscow has been sharply critical of Ukraine’s welcoming attitude toward non-Russian political refugees from Russia, its attention to the non-Russian nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation, and Kyiv’s willingness to provide a home for a movement dedicated to freedom for the peoples of Russia’s Middle Volga region. And just days before sharply escalating its aggressive war against Ukraine, the Russian government took another step to show its anger: it declared the Free Idel-Ural organization, which was created in Kyiv in 2018 by emigres from the Middle Volga, “an undesirable movement” and declared that the group “represents a threat to the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation” (T.me/genprocrfThe New TimesTatar-toz.blogspot.comIdelreal.org, February 18). This action will have little practical effect given that nearly all of its activists live outside of Russia (though some residing in Ukrainian cities could certainly find themselves caught up in the war); but it does explain some of the fears that lie behind President Vladimir Putin’s broader belligerence against Ukraine. Paul Globe: Moscow Angry About Kyiv’s Support for Middle Volga Nations in Russia

The outcome of the broader war Vladimir Putin has launched in Ukraine on February 24 is far from clear; but one thing is obvious: every victory the Kremlin leader may achieve on the ground sets the stage for the collapse not only of his new empire but of the Russian Federation as well (see EDM, February 8). The reason for that is simple. Putin seems oblivious to the fact that he will potentially be bringing back under Moscow’s rule millions of people who do not want to be there; and in doing so, he is recreating some of the most potent factors that led to the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now, with his sharply escalated aggression against Ukraine, Putin is putting at risk the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation—perhaps not today or tomorrow, because he can use repressive force to temporarily hold things together, but eventually because the level of force required to do so is incompatible with the growth of the Russian economy that any leader in Moscow needs (see EDM, October 25, 2021 and February 10, 2022). Paul Globe: Putin’s Aggressive War in Ukraine Puts Russia at Risk of Losing Far More Than Moscow Did in 1991

At 6 AM Moscow time, on October 24, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address the start of a “special military operation” by Russian forces against Ukraine. At that hour, Russian ground, naval, and air forces were already moving to attack Ukrainian territory from multiple directions. Putin invoked Moscow’s recently signed treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR), portraying his country’s military intervention as defending the DPR and LPR against “military aggression” by Ukraine. Vladimir Socor: Kremlin Announces War Aims Against Ukraine

On February 21, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the Moscow-backed, breakaway Donbas statelets of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent sovereign countries, establishing bilateral diplomatic relations and signing defense and friendship treaties with both (see EDM, February 22). The Russian State Duma and Federation Council (lower and upper chambers of parliament, respectively) ratified the treaties without delay. The DPR/LPR promptly asked Moscow to provide military assistance against alleged “Ukrainian aggression”; and in the early hours of February 24, the Kremlin broadcast Putin’s televised address, effectively declaring war on Ukraine. In an angry rant, Putin explicitly decried the United States (“the Empire of lies”) and its allies for ignoring his “red lines” and security demands. Putin denounced Ukraine as a “fascist” state ruled by a “junta” that has been “genocidally” killing and abusing the people of Donbas. The Russian leader stressed his quarrel was not with the Ukrainian people or Ukrainian soldiers (who may lay down arms and freely go home), but the purportedly nationalist and fascist rulers in Kyiv will pay the price. Ukraine must undergo a process of “denazification.” Putin promised to arrest and indict nationalists and “Nazis” who allegedly attacked Russians and Russian-speakers (Interfax, February 24). Pavel E. Felgenhauer: Demilitarize, Balkanize, ‘De-Nazify’: Russia’s Aggressive War Against Ukraine Begins

CHINA

Reuters

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK), reported on Thursday its slowest quarterly revenue growth since going public in 2014, hit by a drop in sales at its core business segment and intensifying competition. , : Alibaba reports slowest revenue growth since going public as competition bites

IRAQ

Reuters

Iraq has temporarily shut down its West Qurna 2 oilfield for maintenance until March 2 at the earliest, a state oil official with knowledge of the field’s operations said on Friday. Iraq halts West Qurna 2 oil production for maintenance, oil official says

NETHERLANDS – ISRAEL

Defense News

The Dutch military has ordered an Israeli system to counter drones, the company announced this week. “The Dutch military has tested the system during the recent year, and decided to purchase it and use the systems immediately, mainly for C-UAS [counter-unmanned aircraft system] purposes,” Smart Shooter said in a statement. Seth J. Frantzman: Dutch military buys Smart Shooter’s counter-drone system

RUSSIA

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Russia is in the late stages of a decades-long modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces to replace Soviet-era weapons with newer systems. In December 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that modern weapons and equipment now make up 89.1 percent of Russia’s nuclear triad, an increase from the previous year’s 86 percent (Russian Federation 2021a; Russian Federation 2020a). The 2021 modernization activities apparently exceeded the projected gains for this year, as President Putin’s 2020 end-of-year address estimated that the modernization percentage would be 88.3 percent by the end of 2021 (Russian Federation 2020a). In previous years, Putin’s remarks have emphasized the need for Russia’s nuclear forces to keep pace with Russia’s competitors: “It is absolutely unacceptable to stand idle. The pace of change in all areas that are critical for the Armed Forces is unusually fast today. It is not even Formula 1 fast—it is supersonic fast. You stop for one second and you start falling behind immediately” (Russian Federation 2020a). Hans M. Kristensen, Matt Korda, Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have in 2022?

RUSSIA – CHINA

Key4biz

Le dimensioni fisiche della Russia sono praticamente aldilà della comprensione. Il paese—la cui superficie occupa un sesto del totale delle terre emerse del globo—è lungo da ovest a est poco meno di 11mila chilometri, compresi in undici fusi orari. Di fusi ne basta uno per la maggior parte dell’Europa Occidentale e sono sufficienti quattro per gli Usa continentali. James Hansen: “Russia e Cina, quando le dimensioni contano”

UAE

Defense News

Saab said this week it has launched a 5G communications system using Emirati intellectual property developed at Saab’s facilities in Tawazun Industrial Park in the country. DeployNet, as it’s known, is a ruggedized, 5G communication system for military and crisis operations. Unveiled by Saab during the Unmanned Systems Exhibition here, it provides 5G/LTE wireless network for challenging environments, and has high-capacity bandwidth for missions relying on information sources, sensors and user interaction. Agnes Helou: Saab showcases new DeployNet 5G network

UGANDA

Brookings

Women’s rights as human rights emerged as a global issue during the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985). Women across different geographic, cultural, religious, racial, and class backgrounds came together as part of a global movement and worked to improve the status of women. Over subsequent decades, women in different countries used various platforms to advocate for women’s recognition and rights. Winnie Kiiza: It is not yet Uhuru for the women of Uganda

USA

Brookings

Let’s connect some dots. There is an unprecedented shortage of labor in the United States. In some cities, such as Lincoln (NE), Huntsville (AL), and Omaha-Council Bluffs (NE-IA), the number of job openings is three times the number of unemployed workers, according to this measure by Brookings’ Workforce of the Future. Among other factors (such as supply chain disruptions or demand outpacing supply in the economy), this labor shortage and the subsequent rise in wages are likely a partial explanation for the rise in inflation. It is important to note that this is a two-way street, of course, because wages also go up in response to inflation, which is the dangerous, vicious inflationary cycle that we better avoid. Dany Bahar: President Biden, tear down those walls and let immigrants take jobs in high demand

USA – INDO PACIFIC

Defense News

With the fate of European security and the volatile U.S.-Russian relationship hanging in the balance, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Fiji in mid-February, promising “we see our future in the Indo-Pacific,” and pledging to build an embassy in the Solomon Islands, the scene of recent turmoil. Lyle Goldstein: The new Indo-Pacific Strategy is too shallow