back to article Massive cyberattack takes Ukraine military, big bank websites offline

The websites of the Ukrainian military and at least two of the nation's biggest banks were knocked offline in a cyberattack today. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense website is still unavailable at time of publication. On social media, it reported "technical works on restoration of regular functioning" are underway after it was " …

  1. GFK1

    Defaced website? Bit more than a DDOS then, isn't it?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Defacement

      Yeah, noted.

      C.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Defacement

        Anyone know who WAF are? Any time Privat get a mention, there's always the potential for oligarch shenanigans. Plus Ukraine's told Ukrainians that fled the country to get back to work.

        1. sreynolds Silver badge

          Re: Defacement

          But who is watching WAF?

        2. sev.monster Bronze badge

          Re: Defacement

          Wealthy Aristocratic Federation, they got tired of the banks having more money than them.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Defacement

          WAF = Wankers Afraid of Freedom

          Also known as the FSB.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somebody pulled down a poster

    https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/cia.png

  3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Preparedness vs Lassitude

    > you'd have thought the Ukrainian military would have been better prepared for an online assault

    I've read several reports that the Ukraine military have not even prepared for a military assault. That is, men&materiel not really doing much in the way of useful preparations, moving lackadaisically into tactical positions, if at all, etc. Likewise, the civilian population essentially unprepared, in terms of evacuation ability, cached food&water, medicines, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

      I think you have to decide what you want from the attack. If I was Biden, I would say "our goal should be to sink the Russian fleet in the Black Sea". You can't achieve all your goals, but you can decide what you want from it, and while the war is active you can go for those goals. That fleet is a threat to the US, it's regularly off the US coast, and sinking it is an achievable goal. If you get that, then move onto the next goal: tanks, missiles expensive targets, bomb a few bases in Russia to make it clear that Russia is not some sort of "safe space" for them.

      Then you paint the Russian US puppets (Tucker, Trump, et al. ) as being on the side of Russia and against America. A fifth column of traitors, undermining America, weakening it, sickening them with their lies (quite literally, they've undermines basic disease controls, killing hundreds of thousands, all while being vaccinated and their staff wearing masks).

      Ukraine will hold a fake vote after Putin has secured it, that says it 98% always wanted to be part of Russia all along.

      Tucker will use that fake vote as propaganda material to pump Russian 'rightness", in exchange he will get help with his Presidential bid. Watch the little cluster of treasonous Republicans vie for Putin's help in their election bids. Parroting Russian talking points, coordinating with St Petersberg troll stories, interviewing Russian liars pretending to be Ukrainian experts. Demonizing Ukrainians as bad people.

      And like the coup plot, if you want to stop it, you have to describe the details of the plot before it happens, so as it's happening, people can recognize what's happening and avert it.

      What Tucker will sell to Putin for power is Alaska:

      August 1, 1867, the Alaska purchase from the Russians..... "Alaskans always wanted to be Russian", says Tucker, "they have a history together", "they are not true Americans" he'll say, "they should be grateful for the time they spent as Americans, and go home to Russia quietly"....... he'll say as he helps Putin "reclaim" Alaska. "Why should Americans defend Alaskans" he'll say... with that puzzled look on his treasonous face. Fox News will feature little segments of "bad woke leftists antifa Alaskans" belowing all their dog whistles. President Tucker will fail to act to defend Alaska from Russian invasion.

      Alaska will hold a vote, 98% of the people of Alaska always wanted to be part of Russia, the fake poll will claim. Tucker will use the invasion as cover to grab power for life. Republicans will help him do that for their share of that power.

      The core problem here: more people voted from Clinton over Trump in 2016, yet Clinton lost. If Clinton ran against Trump in 2024, she would crush him the popular vote and yet still lose the election because the votes are so skewed to Republicans.

      If they don't need the American voters to back them, then Republican loyalty is to whatever gets them power. That's the troll factory, the black money, the Russian hackers, *not* the voters.

      That's the problem the US faces

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        Nice fanfiction. Do you self-insert the US every time you schizopost?

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        Alien

        Biden is Ukrainian? Ukraine is Bidenian? Russia controls the Orange man? Reality is over where?

        I don't know what you're smoking, son, but it might be a good idea to start cutting back.

      3. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        OK, this is the Reg, so sanity in posting isn't always a thing but this is easily the most bonkers post I have read here.

      4. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        That's the troll factory

        So how is your work there?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        TL:DR

      6. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        see icon

    2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

      I've just seen a news item claiming that the Oligarchs are preparing, as of at least the weekend:

      https://www.asianews.it/news-en/Tibetan-nomads-locked-up-in-labour-camps-for-'sensitive'-data-on-smartphones-55147.html :

      UKRAINE

      Due to the risk of conflict with Russia, Ukrainian oligarchs are leaving the country on private flights. As Ukrainskaja Pravda reported, more than 20 charters and personal planes, such as that of Rinat Akhmetov and Boris Kolesnikov, left Kiev on 13 February; the millionaire Igor Abramovich, deputy of the pro-Russian Opz party, ordered a flight for 50 people.

      Serious Russia-insider knowledge is implied by those 3 named oligarchs: #3 is explicitly pro-Russian, #2 is widely believed to be pro-Russian and a couple of interviews with him certainly strongly suggest it, and #1 is known as the Donbass Don (succeeded to the position by blowing up his predecessor at a soccer match), has an "ambiguous" relationship with the separatists there (eg, publicly protesting them originally but then publicly supplying them), plus is reefing profits out of Russia-occupied Crimea.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        Don't forget Ihor Kolomoyskyi, one of Ukraine's more... colourful oligarchs, complete with his own Privat battalions.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Preparedness vs Lassitude

        What I hear whenever I see the word "Oligarch":-

        Well isn't this another fine mess you got us into?

        I'm sorry Oli...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: [reports] the Ukraine military have not even prepared for a military assault.

      They are probably having to walk a tricky line here - getting too prepared might be either misrepresented as either a "provocation" by Russia, or lead to an accident or incident that gets out of control very fast.

  4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Parting Shot?

    If this is Crazy Ivan doing this could be a parting shot if their claim of standing down is true. The goal is hamper Ukrainian activities for limited period of time but not go far enough to risk kinetic warfare. I have been suspicious of some of the claims in the media as floundering tyrants love foreign misadventures to get the serfs to rally around the flag. Some should ask what happened to Galiteri after the Falklands War in the 80's. But if the serfs do not rally around the flag the tyrants are often toast.

    1. sev.monster Bronze badge

      Re: Parting Shot?

      I definitely think this is more of Russia's/the USSR's classic "burn them from the inside" strategy they have been employing over the decades. Make the Ukranian people fear the direction the government is taking them and give them the idea (warranted or not) that their infrastructure is insecure and fallible. I'm sure Russia's goal is to increase the number of legitimate pro-unification/pro-Russia citizens until it reaches a point like what happened in Donbass. From then they can continue to shuffle in arms through Luhansk an Donetsk to provide to the separatists and sit back with their feet up to watch the chaos unfold, maybe poke it with a stick every now and again.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Parting Shot?

        And those Russian units have not actually "pulled out", but merely moved from Belarus to Russian regions still adjacent to Ukraine. So, not clear if this is an actual climb-down (unexpected by the oligarchs, implying a Putin spontaneity), or an intention to further muddy the waters for the West, or just playing for thinking-time, or decided he's had the desired effect on Ukrainian citizens, or something else entirely.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Parting Shot?

        I'm sure Russia's goal is to increase the number of legitimate pro-unification/pro-Russia citizens until it reaches a point like what happened in Donbass.

        That's not actually what happened in Donbas though. There were an awful lot of suspiciously well coordinated attacks on police stations and town halls led by men in military fatigues, without unit badges on them. And a lot of the early leadership were actually Russians who had "retired" from the FSB or armed forces. Those guys have now been withdrawn - sorry I mean have retired from those leadership roles and are now living in Russia again.

        Although all the local leadership now have Russian passports - although in some cases given to them since 2014 - Russian has handed out 700,000 passports to people in the Donetsk and Luhansk "republics" according to the Russian foreign office. Which is the same playbook as Georgia and Transnistria. Once you've established a large minority with Russian citizenship, why it's then obvious that they need the protection of the Russian government.

        I'm not saying there wasn't genuine local support, people that were unhappy with the government they supported going down after Maidan, but I'm not sure there would have been anything other than a bit of local protest if it hadn't been for direct intervention by Russian special forces. And even that wasn't enough, as Russia had to chuck in a reinforced tank division in 2015 - to keep the rebellion going. Hence the Minsk agreements - signed to get the Russian regular army to leave without doing any more damage - but seemingly not really designed to actually solve the underlying problem.

        On the other hand, if Putin is trying to burn Ukraine from the inside, it ain't going very well. Even a small majority of people in the Eastern, Russian speaking, bits now would like Ukraine to join NATO. Because Putin has created this massive border dispute, trade and travel across the Russian border has collapsed, thus aligning most Ukrainians' economic and security interests in a westward direction - while trashing the image and reputation of Russia. Meanwhile Luhansk and Donetsk are both incredibly poor and appaarently even $5bn a year in subsidies from the Russian government isn't enough to keep them from continuing to get worse - so Russia is going to have to pump yet more money in. And Ukraine refuses to re-intergrate them on Russia's terms, so that they can be a trojan horse within the Ukrainian government - giving Russia total control.

        Hence mobilising two thrids of the Russian army to the Ukrainian border in the last couple of months.

        1. MrBanana Silver badge

          Re: Parting Shot?

          Putin is using the "I don't want NATO in Ukraine" stance as something of a smoke screen. What he really doesn't want is closer ties between Ukraine and Europe. That would interfere with the obvious intention of creating his legacy - reunifying what he can from the fractured USSR. I think he had been relying on indecision amongst the European countries because of the usual diplomatic scuffles, but that hasn't really happened. So now he has to double down with 60% of his military assets, and a massively long table.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: Parting Shot?

            Is table size inversely proportional to penis size by perchance?

          2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: Parting Shot?

            I'm just curious, would the UK allow a military alliance to be formed between Ireland and Russia or China? Would they allow Russian troops and weapons to be placed in Ireland?

            It just amazes me that the west doesn't see this as an issue. That there is nothing wrong with forming military alliances, stationing troops and weapons in countries on the borders of their adversaries when we all know they would NEVER allow this to be done to themselves.

            The west can talk all they want abut how "Ukraine NATO membership is not on the table" but they won't state that unequivocally. The fact is that's exactly what they want. It's what the Obama regime wanted when they started the Orange Revolution! The Biden's have huge "personal financial interests" in Ukraine and they are willing to start a war to protect them.

            Also, the Cyber attacks are all too convenient for the Biden regimes narrative. My money is on the NSA.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Parting Shot?

              Would they [the UK] allow Russian troops and weapons to be placed in Ireland?

              Cliffwilliams44,

              We'd have to. The alternative would be declaring war on Russia, to kick them out. However it's not something we have to worry about. Nobody asks for Russian troops, unless they're dictators with no other option (like Assad). Even Lukashenko didn't want Belarus to get too close to Russia, and has always played them off against the EU in order to keep Russia at arms length. He's not accepted permanent basing of Russian troops in his country, presumably for the same reason he didn't recognise Russia's annexation of Crimea. Allow permanent basing of Russia's troops in your country and you risk having them take the place over. Now he's desparate, since crushing the protests after the last election - he's allowed the Russians in, and I rather suspect he doesn't know how he'll get them out now.

              As for NATO's massive build-up on poor innocent, defencless Russia's borders... There are single battalion-sized NATO battlegroups in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - backed up with about 15 fighters to defend their airspace against Russian bombers who repeatedly fly through civillian air corridors with their transponders turned off.

              Russia has moved about 100 battalions to the Ukraine border since November. Out of their total army of about 170. Can you notice a little something about the difference in scale there?

              Oh and in 2014 Ukraine was neutral. There was talk about maybe possibly joining NATO in the future, but neutrality was written into the constitution and politically popular. Russia had signed the Budapest memorandum at the OSCE in Budapest in 1994 guaranteeing the territorial and political integrity of Ukraine. So if there is any deterioration in Russia's security situation because Ukraine is attempting to reform and rearm its military - there is only one reason for this. Repeated Russian aggression against Ukraine, leading it to want to gain the ability to defend itself.

            2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Parting Shot?

              UK citizen here. I'd be fine with that, but I think the Irish would be fucking furious.

      3. Precordial thump

        Re: Parting Shot?

        That sounds like a self-defeating strategy, though. By annexing Crimea and the Donbas, Putin has decreased the number of ethnic Russians in Ukraine and increased the number of ethnic Ukrainians in Russia.

        Unlike ordinary memories of day-to-day politics, ethnic memories of geopolitics are long. Ukrainians already know what to expect from Russians geopolitically.

        If Russians want sympathetic responses from Ukraine, they could start by behaving benevolently. Anyone Putin might install as a puppet should expect to have to behave like Lukashenko, but with their opposition already organised for them, by Putin.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Great Distractions from Growing Home Disasters and Virulent Civil Unrest

      I have been suspicious of some of the claims in the media as floundering tyrants love foreign misadventures to get the serfs to rally around the flag. ..... a_yank_lurker

      Surely, a_yank_lurker, the only ones on foreign misadventures in Ukraine are a floundering Boris [from the UK] and a Sleepy Joe [from the US]. Everyone one else is clowning around on home soil.

      And to imagine them as tyrants rather than recognise them as buffoons and wannabe delusional clones of Churchill and Roosevelt grandeur is novel and most unlikely to be graciously and gratefully accepted by them even if true.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Parting Shot?

      Look at all the territories Russia invaded in the last years:

      Transnitria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea and with use of proxies Donetsk and Luhansk regions. What make you think Russia will stop trying to expand?

      I have been suspicious of some of the claims in the media as floundering tyrants love foreign misadventures to get the serfs to rally around the flag

      It worked quite well for Thatcher, Bush Sr and Jr.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Parting Shot?

      You're talking about R*ssia? Or... ??

      "floundering tyrants" - Boris and the Torys (*not* a new rock band)

      "foreign misadventures" - Brexit

      "serfs" - Northern working class people...

      "rally around the flag" - ... who suddenly voted Tory for some inexplicable reason.

      See, you can (re-)apply these tropes to almost any circumstance with a bit of 'thought'.

      A/C.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Parting Shot?

      I tend to agree with your general assessment. I do not believe that "Vlad The Putinator" wants a hot war with Ukraine and potentially the USA and NATO. Nor do I believe the USA and NATO want it either.

      Vlad continues to saber-rattle and make a whole lot of noise. Cyber attacks and intimidation and whatever falls short of bombs and bullets will no doubt continue until he gets what he wants.

      In theory this is actually a good opportunity for deal making. Sun Tzu would suggest that we give him what he wants in exchange for what WE want. Smart leaders would pay attention to what Sun Tzu wrote in 'The Art of War', especially the parts about war being expensive and that it should be avoided.

      Ultimately Vlad does not want NATO missiles on his border and wants a Ukraine that does what he tells them to do. Vlad might be willing to give things up to get there. We just need to make him see that the easier path (not escalating this) is also the better one. I also have to wonder if the Russian people even support him in this (like he would even care), or even his own troops.

      So here's how I think the world needs to deal with this: a) remove NATO troops and missiles and whatnot from Ukraine, on the condition that b) Vlad stops his "bad acting" and does things _LIKE_ shutting down hacker groups and 'fake item' scammers within Russia, stopping support of Iran in any way, yotta yotta (including sending his troops home). Then we stop sanctions, cooperation improves, and everybody is happy. Or that's the general idea. [Unfortunately too many people in power seem to benefit from blaming and saber rattling and keeping the tension as high as possible, on both sides of this, including Vlad himself]

      Or we can do it the STUPID way aka "the hard way" and have WW3. And no need to start another cold war either. This is 2022.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Parting Shot?

        bombastic bob,

        Two problems with your idea. Firstly there aren’t any NATO missiles in Ukraine to remove. And as for NATO troops, it’s only a couple of hundred training staff. But obviously we could sign the equivalent of a 1938 Munich deal, and abandon Ukraine to Putin's tender mercies. As he said of Ukraine at the press conference with Macron last week, "Like it or not, my beauty, you have to put up with it."

        The problem is, rather like Munich, getting Putin to stick to any deal he signs. If his aims are limited, and he just wants a small NATO and democracy free zone then fine. Hang morality, we can have an easy life. But if he wants more than that, he’ll be back for more tomorrow. Putin has been quite consistent in hiding what his aims are. We don’t even know what he’s after from this current Ukraine crisis. Let alone his long-term strategic aims. If he even has any. But even if we had some idea of that, how do we trust him? He hasn’t stuck to many of his past agreements.

        Seemingly he wants the US to rejoin the INF treaty, after Trump pulled out. But Russia was in breach of that for a decade already. Obama only stayed in because the Europeans wouldn’t cooperate with him in trying to force Russian compliance.

        Not only did he break an agreement to not invade Ukraine, he also then denied he’d even done it. How do you negotiate with someone who won’t even recognise reality? Even now, Russia has made dark threats, but they haven’t publicly acknowledged that they’ve mobilised for war on the Ukrainian border. Only admitted to limited military exercises. Which is also a breach of treaties that Russia has signed.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Parting Shot?

          you are "not wrong", in that Putin may try to back out of deals like Hitler did in 1939. For this you need a bit of carrot/stick to make sure he keeps his end of the bargain. But I suspect he does NOT want war, or even conquest, as much as he wants to be left "un-threatened". Any deal made would have to include NOT invading Ukraine. I guess I was not clear on this point.

          Still, with Crimea being annexed a few years ago, Putin has to be held accountable for being a bad actor. So giving him what he wants with strings attached COULD be designed to make sure he doesn't try this again.

          My point was to show that Putin wanted something from US and that giving him what he wants, in exchange for something we want, is a strategy outlined by Sun Tzu in his book, and I believe it's the best way to handle it.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Parting Shot?

            bombastic bob,

            Thanks for your reply. I totally agree that diplomacy is the best solution. Which means us giving up things we can live without in exchange for things we want more. And so we should definitely be talking to Russia and engaging with them. In fact a bit of diplomatic give-and-take might be very good. If we can do some hard negotiating and actually have deals fulfilled, then we can actually start to build trust. I don't think Putin is Hitler - with an irrational aim to take over the world.

            But there's a big problem. I'm not sure we can give him what he wants. He can't be stupid enough to really think that NATO are a serious military threat to Russia. We could be, in a few years, if the US completely changed their force posture and flooded Europe with reinforcements. And if the European armies invested more, so they could deploy more than just small battle groups. But that's what nukes are for. The problem is our threat to him is by existing. Working, stable, successful democracy is a threat to him. There's a brain-drain of Russian talent regularly heading West - and if Ukraine were to become a successful democracy - what would that say to Russians about how shit their system is.

            So OK. We allow him his buffer-zone of misery. Let him keep Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia as varying degrees of failed states - so Russians don't have nice places right on their borders. But the problem with that is Ukraine and Belarus can see Poland - doing rather nicely out of being in NATO and the EU thankyouverymuch. And so they want a bit of that, and so do we then allow him to move and try to make Poland, the Baltic States into failed states too to keep him happy?

            Also Putin keeps on pushing. I think we need to push back. We need stuff to give him, so he'll not do stuff we won't like. But as here, he's created this crisis by mobilising. Why should we reward him for it? So if we give something, we should take more. OK, you can have an unwritten guarantee that we won't let Ukraine in. But in return, we're putting 2 divisions in Poland, setting new rules on gas supply to Europe and fining Gazprom say $5billion for supply manipulation, which they promised not to do as part of the settlement of an EU regulatory complaint in about 2015. They should have been fined then, but "promised not to do it again, honest." Plus we're increasing our missile defences in Eastern Europe - basing offensive missiles there too, to mirror what Russia has already done in Kaliningrad, and some more economic sanctions. Then we can offer to stop doing some of this in exchange for deescalation in Ukraine. It imposes real costs on both sides, but we're way richer than Russia. Basically it's Cold War containment. Proper deterrence at all levels, forcing Russia to ruin their economy if they want to be a big military player, but offereing reasonable diplomacy and de-escalation at all times.

            Just giving him what he wants when he threatens us, means he'll threaten us again. Nukes in Kalinigrad, more aggressive naval and air operations in our backyard, more cyber attacks and attempts to damage elections. He's fighting the Cold War, and has been for at least a decade, so we need to return the favour, and perhaps privately remind him who won the last time, and offer alternatives.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Parting Shot?

              Alternatively, compare the situation in Ukraine with say, Syria. Both had (very) similar coups, although Syria was less successful. Both lost control of territory. For Syria, this in addition to previously annexed territoy, eg Golan Heights. More recently, Turkey annexed territory to create a non-Kurdish buffer, and the Kurds took control of a good chunk of Syria's agricultural land, and oil production. So the fiefdoms under the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

              So much the same as Donbass. Russians are in Syria, at the request of the Syrian government. Couple of days ago, the US complained about dangerous Russian flying, deep inside Syria's territory & air space. So why is there a 'NATO' base on Syrian territory, actively involved in combat operation, uninvited?

              If it's OK for us to do this in Syria, why shouldn't Russia do the same in Donbass? Bit hypocritical, no?

              Anyway. Thought for the day. Things seem to be hotting up in Donbass. Ukrainian government's now saying it hasn't ordered any attacks in Donbass. What if they're right, and didn't, but no longer have control of all it's armed forces? Not that they ever really did, but that's a risk of allowing oligarchs to own battalions. Or allowing those to grow into regiments.

              But I think a more likely source of false flags, if not future coups.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid

    Now that UK and US news of the impending and imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russia [a Five Eyed Western Confection with NATO Concoctions] is proving itself to be a disastrous hoax and great white elephant bull, does Ukraine get to keep all the Western aid and new military hardware it was so freely quickly gifted or are Ukrainians in no need of it expected to pay dearly for it and create for themselves one of those relatively new fangled entangled and capturing/imprisoning Futures/Derivatives .... a Synthetic CDO ....Collateralised Debt Obligation Supporting Deficit and Debt and a Systemic Mass Slavery?

    Do you deny such a possible product has been created and presented to Ukrainians? Surely all the evidence of such assistance has been clearly enough presented to you by media right before your very eyes so is it greater intelligence ..... which can easily be simply supplied..... which is lacking for you whenever the bigger pictures are missing to you?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid

      I look at it like this.

      Reductions in kinetic diplomacy created an order book and inventory problem. Lots of stuff produced to support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan etc that's now surplus and would incur storage or disposal costs. So it's rather handy to create a market for that stuff.

      So run a bunch of stories about an expansionist Russia, and sell military stuff to concerned neighbors. Which is done with easy finance terms. A good example is Canada's decision to ship arms to Ukraine, which were originally due to go to the Kurds in 2016 but had been gathering dust since that deal fell apart. And it's also good business to get clients hooked on NATO standard kit instead of buying Russian.

      Then there are other political benefits. Oil & gas played a big part in this phony war. Prices rocketed, which is good for trade balances, if you're a producer. And driving a wedge between the EU and Russia prevents the EU economy from benefiting.

      But such is politics. Now we can claim we prevented conflict and showed Russia who's boss. Alternatively, Russia's showed it can run a 100k+ combined arms exercise with an ally. And if Russia had attacked, it would probably have been a short war.

      But depending on who gets the new toys, Ukraine's next coup could be even bloodier. Or it could end up as it's independence from Russia did. Ukraine inherited massive amounts of ex-Soviet kit which they promptly flogged off. Which is how a shipload of 'Russian' tanks ended up being captured off Somalia.

      (Then again, the 16th isn't over yet, but I doubt anything will happen until there's a provocation to justify Ukraine attempting to retake it's breakaway regions. And good luck attempting to take Crimea by force. But the seeds of false flags have already been planted by the media. Much of which has been rather uncritical. So we've been shown satellite images of what might be Iskanders. What hasn't been shown are the thousands of containers and fuel tankers that would be needed to support a large, mechanised invasion force.)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid

        So run a bunch of stories about an expansionist Russia, and sell military stuff to concerned neighbors. Which is done with easy finance terms.

        Jellied Eel,

        If only poor innocent non-expansionist Russia hadn't mobilised 2/3rds of its army to the Ukrainian border in the last 4 months (having done a similar but smaller move back in April last year). The difference being that this year they shipped most of two armies from Siberia to join the party. Perhaps those evil Western lies wouldn't have been believed. Oh and that would be non-expansionist Russia that invaded Ukraine in 2014 and annexed part of its territory (Crimea), then sent special forces in to foment armed rebellion in the Donbas - and when that was failing in 2015 sent in a reinforced division to save them. Would those be the stories about expansionist Russia you're talking about?

        What hasn't been shown are the thousands of containers and fuel tankers that would be needed to support a large, mechanised invasion force.)

        If you'd looked in the right places, there have been satellite photos of military fuel pipelaying units on the Ukrainian border. So the Russians could have the fuel in place to move. But of course this huge military build-up could be bluff.

        However that still makes your overall argument look extremely silly. You're saying that the nasty old US has created the threat to sell weapons and get the Europeans to buy their gas. While admitting that it's Russia who's created the threat by mobilising its army on the Ukraine border. But apparently that's OK, because... reasons.

        Mass mobilisation is not a friendly act. It's also quite rare - and has often been the cause of wars, or brought countries very close to it. It's also often been the cause of political leaders realising they've accidentally strayed too close to the edge and getting down to negotiating - but in this case it's extremely obvious that it's only Russia doing it, as part of a campaign of diplomatic coercion.

        Meanwhile of course ignoring the fact that Ukraine hasn't got much money and so the weapons it's been getting have all been gifts - admittedly mostly of people's older or surplus kit. But even in the case of the longer-term purchases - they're only really in the market for buying stuff if we can give them a combination of long-term loans and gifts.

        Also what we've been giving Ukraine is largely symbolic. Anti-tank missiles are going to increase the cost of any Russian ground invasion, but if Russia went the full combined arms assault, Ukraine will lose. However Russia has also (as you admit) mobilised massive numbers of guided missiles to the border, plus huge amounts of its artillery. They don't need fuel. If Russia decided to launch mass air and artillery assaults at Ukraine, there's not a whole lot they could do except die in large numbers.

        What Ukraine actually needs is modern air defences. But we didn't supply that when there was time a few years ago, and it's too late now. As that sort of gear takes time to set up, and it could easily tip the balance of Putin's decision in favour of invasion if done now.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid

          Alternatively

          In 2014 a conversation between Ass Sec Nuland and Pyatt, the US ambassador leaked. Memorable for cookies, picking Yats for President and saying 'Fsck the EU'. And so it came to pass. One 'colour revolution, Yats installed, many died. Some inside a building set on fire by the democratic regime.

          Oh, and the EU got fscked.

          So Yats & Co started pivoting towards democracy. Oh, and a bunch of nationalistic policies. So Crimea lost autonomy, and the home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet was under threat. Forcing Russia out of Crimea would be a win, especially if it became a NATO base. But Russia had no need to invade Crimea because it was already there. It housed sailors, airmen, and soldiers. Including a lot of naval infantry, airborne and special forces. So all they needed to do was get out of bed, secure the situation, and let the Crimean population vote. Predictably, they chose to align with Russia.

          So a swift and virtually bloodless Crimean coup saw it's population overwhelmingly vote to become Russian. Hardly suprising given history and the antics of Ukraine's new government, and groups like the Azov 'Battalion'. They're peaceful, fun loving fans of Ukrainian heroes like Stepan Banderas. Hence why they chose to honor a Ukrainian patriot by choosing the Black Sun rising over the sea of Azov.

          Oh, and the wolfsangel. Since the 2nd SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich' wasn't using it any more, and Azov's founding cadre probably had patches, or knew where to get more. But I'm sure the iconography doesn't mean anything, Azov are simply proud Ukrainians, who love their country, football, and teaching grandmas how to kill Russians.

          So all very Ukrainian. As is the origin of Azov, and it's sponsor. Ukrainian politics is weird like that. But so are Western politics. So the media ran PR for Azov, showing them training Ukrainian volunteers, proudly displaying their SS patches. But that's just Ukraine. Last time that patch was worn in Ukraine, the wearers were also working on exterminating Slavs for being untermensch.

          Oddly, Slavs and Russians remember that bit of Ukrainian history, and probably aren't keen to see it repeated. So regardless, there was no Crimea invasion, good reasons to fear the neo-Ukrainian government, and the vote was in keeping with the UN principles of self-determination. As an analogy, it'd be like the UK getting a new government, who decide to abolish the Scottish, Welsh and N.Ireland parliaments, removing funding and banning the use of any language but English. Even the SNP might decide that independence or a new patron is preferable.

          But such is politics. As for pipeline units, were those parked next to the bridging equipment. Those should be easier to spot than suspected Iskanders. Didn't see those in stories from the UK's state broadcaster. Which is odd really. There's stuff needed to conduct a large exercise, there's stuff needed to invade, occupy and control a large country. A few tanks don't make for a successful invasion. POL and ammunition does, and Russia's always been a big fan of artillery.

          But so it goes. Winter has always been exercise season, and ally. Ukraine and Russian border regions are famous for mud. See WW2 for more info, or ask any Ukrainian or Russian farmer. Mud's also famous for slowing campaigns down, increasing attrition and being a general embuggerance. So best avoided, and why exercises tend to wait for the ground to freeze. But at least Russian kit is designed to operate in that environment. NATO stuff has been more desert focused, so probably just as well we're not looking at fighting a Russian Winter war.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid Thing

      Alien downvoters might not like to read of further evidence of such shenanigans, far too similar to that which they have downvoted here to be viably dismissed, from another completely different source which can easily be presumed and assumed to know more than them about what we are talking about here, today

      And spookily enough, it is also conveniently hosted today here ......... Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, the Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America's Empire .... and well worth the short read to see quite another picture which is problematical and realistically indefensible whenever exposed.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Western Capitalism Doing ITs Department of Defense Credit and Emergency Fake Aid Thing

        It’s always all about the collateral flow and direct command and demand control of a funny money and monopoly fiat printing press operation [now in the throes of wholesale transfer to remote facilities accessed with and from utilities solely based virtually online in a novel cyber controlled space] that confuses and conflates dollar supply with wealth distribution ..... https://www.rt.com/news/549450-dollar-dominance-russia-invade-ukraine/ ..... rather than it being recognised as vital asset capture for peanuts/virtually nothing of real lasting value.

        ’Tis a Great Deceit Conceived and Exercised in a Grand Conceit Vitally Dependent upon the Flaky Fake Media Cover Provided by Constant Ignorance and Hubristic Arrogance.

        However, discovering how everything can so freely easily work at the expense of all and for nothing valuable, is not something that can stand testing for any length of time at any time, in any space, closed and elite or free and open. Decide to fight and do vain battle against it, has one enjoined to suffer the slings and arrows of grave misfortune and disastrous defeat ..... so beware, take care, be wise and don’t choose foolishly is extremely sound common sense advice to not be uncovered and realised as worthy of engaging enraged mob attention.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the False False Flag Operation

    we've all been anticipating?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Is this the False False Flag Operation

      That Ukraine hacked its own websites and blamed it on Russia? Given that report from the west this week that however many percent of cyber-crime proceeds goes to Russian hacking crews, this is clearly slanderous and we must invade to silence them!

      That kind of False Flag Operation?

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Is this the False False Flag Operation

        You obviously believe everything you are being told by the powers that be.

        If you don't believe the NSA can setup a cyber attack and make it look like the money is flowing to some obscure Russian hacking group I've got several bridges for sale if your interested.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Is this the False False Flag Operation

          Well unless the NSA wanted to demonstrate how effective cyber warfare could be by staging a false flag attack at a time of heightened tension with a believable scape goat ready to blame solely in order to increase cyber defence and therefore their own budget allocation..,

          Hang on...

          Isn't that the plot of Swordfish?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Is this the False False Flag Operation

            Pretty much. But I get the feeling reality and fiction blur sometimes. With Iraq we had the dodgy dossier, now we're treated to full-spectrum Russian fear mongering. But there are 2 simple words to clarify things. If, and why?

            First is easy if Russia invades Ukraine today, the hype is real. If it doesn't, and just finishes up it's exercises, then the hype was obviously just that. Bit embarrassing, but can spin that away. Some good came out of it, like boosting energy and arms sales. It provides justification for the EU army, and von der Leyden will make sure it has excellent creche facilities. Just as she did for the German Army. They might have preferred more tanks, but one has to prioritize. Oh, and NATO's talking about adding 2 new battle groups.

            The why is harder. We're told Russia is expansionist, and determined to recreate the USSR. Yet Putin lived through that, and isn't stupid. The collapse of the Soviet Union was well documented, and ultimately good for Russia. It didn't have to subsidise it's client states any more, and could focus on just it's own economy and interests. So the non-expansionist NATO and EU picked up those clients and costs instead. NATO added 14 new members to counter the growing threat from the Warsaw Pact forces. Russia must create a 350km deep DMZ along it's European border, and must seek permission from NATO and the EU before any troop movements or exercises. Russia must not interfere in any other country. It must close it's bases in Syria to avoid conflict with NATO bases protecting Syria's oil fields, and future pipeline route.

            But it's all basic psyops stuff. Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it, and won't ask 'why?'. Like why would Russia invade Ukraine? It doesn't really have anything Russia needs, or wants. And don't ask why Kiev has been refusing to implement Minsk.

            1. smithsi

              Re: Is this the False False Flag Operation

              Interesting post - your comments didn't age well!

  7. hatti

    Unexpected item in bagging area

    Possibly caused by the large transaction to NATO

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logical move ?

    It looks to me there is a logical move from Putin, here:

    1- raise tension, stack whole armies to the Ukrainian border, prepare to invade

    2- US intelligence publish your next move (either it is intoxication or real disclosure, I'm of the opinion it is the latter)

    3- backtrack explicitly (armies going home), as there is no other possible move

    4- move to the hidden plane of cyber and attack Ukrain there (Of course, DDos is a simple cover for some more nasty stuff that has yet to be revealed)

    At least the guns won't shout, which is definitely a plus.

  9. _LC_ Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    US intelligence is really good

    US intelligence is really good. They always know upfront when something is going to happen and where it is going to happen. Worth the money! </sarcasm>

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: US intelligence is really good

      "Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms" ^^

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: US intelligence is really good

        Military Intelligence?

        Sounds like a good idea! Let's implement it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: US intelligence is really good

          Like the one attributed to Ghandi...

          When asked his thoughts on Western Civilisation, he replied "I think it would be a good idea."

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: US intelligence is really good

      _LC_

      In this case it was easy. They just counted. How many Russian units have moved to the Ukraine border? About 100 battalions out of a total of 170, as of now. How many are being loaded on trains or moving? Which is quite easy to see as it takes weeks to move all the heavy stuff if the troops are based in Siberia. And they started them moving weeks ago and they've been arriving during January.

      Once you can see all the stuff has arrived, or nearly done so - and once you see them building field hospitals on the border - then you call the invasion date as about now.

      Of course they may actually have sources inside the Russian government. Or technical means of intercepting communications. In which case they may have access to lots more information. Or equally they've claiming to have all that in order to put the wind up the Russians, when in fact all they have is satellite info and of course all those spy planes that have been quite so busily flying in circles round the Black Sea for the last few months. Those spy planes are equipped with radar and lots of antennae for listening in on military comms - even if it's just traffic pattern analysis, rather than actually decoding stuff.

      As an aside, the Russian forces are bit of a mixed bag. They've got small amounts of very new, very shiny equipment. They've got large amounts of very old, very Soviet equipment in front-line service too. Because they realised they couldn't afford to replace it. Now a lot of that old Soviet stuff has been seriously overhauled (basically remanufactured), and brought up to modern standards. But if they're still operating a lot of kit that hasn't yet been updated, then that will probably be much more vulnerable to electronic snooping and eavesdropping.

      1. Pen-y-gors

        Re: US intelligence is really good

        Sounds like a good time to invade Vladivostok, while the Russian Army is massing in the West.

        1. _LC_ Silver badge

          Re: US intelligence is really good

          Mind you that it's winter. Didn't work out that well the last time...

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: US intelligence is really good

        Or the US outsourced intelligence gathering to Christopher Steele. Again.

  10. Pen-y-gors

    Cut-off time?

    Perhaps time for every cable in and out of Russia to go down for 'maintenance' for an unspecified lengthy period?

  11. Earth Resident

    Give the propaganda a break

    Russia had no incentive to engage in cyber attacks against Ukraine. The United States and NATO are the ones who would benefit since it advances the western propaganda. Ever since it was revealed back 6-7 years ago that the NSA developed hacking tools that can leave evidence framing any country, every attack should be thought as a false flag attack.

    How would Russia benefit? By more negative press and increased war pressure? Russia doesn't even have an incentive to invade Ukraine and since they've never expressed that intention I think the western media should begin to act more responsibly. Russia is simply looking for security guarantee from the west and that's a small ask.

    We wouldn't be in this position anyway if the Ukrainian Rada would only follow the 2015 Minsk II agreement that they signed an have done little to implement. Or maybe perhaps the United States could keep to their word about not moving "one inch" with NATO. Instead, NATO has threatening troops on their border and the west is trying to push Russia into a rash over. That's not only stupid, it's dangerous. And it's causing a price spike in US natural gas prices to the home as well as record high gasoline prices.

    If the United States doesn't voluntarily stop trying to provoke Russia they are going to cause a conflagration. Millions will die because Biden's numbers are down. Pathetic.

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Re: Give the propaganda a break

      You work for the FSB and I claim my £5. How's the weather in Petrograd today?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Give the propaganda a break

      Instead, NATO has threatening troops on their border and the west is trying to push Russia into a rash over.

      NATO has 3 battalions in the Baltic States, 1 in each of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. And to keep Russia happy, they're not even permanent - but a small rotating tripwire force. That plus whatever Norway keeps on its northern border with Russia (I don't think Norway has any permanently stationed foreign troops) is all that NATO has that is "threatening" Russia. We haven't even got many troops forward deployed in Poland - not on the Russian border.

      Russia has mobilised its army on the Ukrainian border. Don't be surprised when that kind of massive provocation gets an unfavourable reaction. Study the origins of World War I, as a good example of the dangers of mobilisation diplomacy.

  12. Earth Resident

    Stop the provocations

    Russia had no incentive to engage in cyber attacks against Ukraine. The United States and NATO are the ones who would benefit since it advances the western propaganda. Ever since it was revealed back 6-7 years ago that the NSA developed hacking tools that can leave evidence framing any country, every attack should be thought as a false flag attack.

    How would Russia benefit? By more negative press and increased war pressure? Russia doesn't even have an incentive to invade Ukraine and since they've never expressed that intention I think the western media should begin to act more responsibly. Russia is simply looking for security guarantee from the west and that's a small ask.

    We wouldn't be in this position anyway if the Ukrainian Rada would only follow the 2015 Minsk II agreement that they signed an have done little to implement. Or maybe perhaps the United States could keep to their word about not moving "one inch" with NATO. Instead, NATO has threatening troops on their border and the west is trying to push Russia into a rash over. That's not only stupid, it's dangerous. And it's causing a price spike in US natural gas prices to the home as well as record high gasoline prices.

    If the United States doesn't voluntarily stop trying to provoke Russia they are going to cause a conflagration. Millions will die because Biden's numbers are down. Pathetic.

    1. Esme

      Re: Stop the provocations

      Pretty Boy Putin (he of the homoerotic pictures) is known to have been shocked and upset when the USSR collapsed. And whilst he may not be unintelligent, he certainly is capable of stupid mistakes, as are we all.

      I've no idea and no intention of trying to guess what PBP's aims are, but his actions against Ukraine have been and are a huge, and stupid, mistake. What would you expect to happen when about 2/3 of Russias military masses on the borders of a country Russia recently partially invaded? NATO ground forces in Europe are not a credible threat to Russia. The biggest threat to Russia is PBP and his posturing.

  13. snow20191102

    American Nukes

    Why is there a profound silence over the installation of US nuclear missiles in Latvia and Poland which started this thing off in the first place?

    Russia is only trying to defend itself against the american military who want to try out their new toys.

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