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Cyber

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Disinformation

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Kinetic

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Potential Damage

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Direct Malfeasance

Category Interference Type Incident Title Date Source
Cyber Potential Damage UK Defense Secretary Says Russia Aims to Bring Ukraine and Georgia “Back Into Its Orbit” February 14, 2019 [1]
Summary
UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who recently visited Ukraine, said Russia is rebuilding its military arsenal. The Kremlin aims to bring former Soviet states “back into its orbit,” using cyberattacks, sabotage, and information operations to challenge the international rules-based system.
Analysis and Attribution
Williamson said the nature of warfare is changing, blurring the boundaries between peace and war. Adversaries of the UK, including Russia and China, are operating in a“gray zone” short of war. He said the cost of failing to act in global crises was "unacceptably high." Williamson added, "We have to be ready to show the high price of aggressive behavior,” including a willingness to use “hard power” to support UK interests. If not, Western powers risk being perceived as a “paper tiger.”
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Ukraine's Presidential Candidates Accused of Shady Financing February 11, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
In another piece aimed at questioning the legitimacy and legality of the Ukrainian elections, pro-Kremlin outlets manipulate the words of the minister Avakov about the allegedly shady financing of the candidates.
Analysis and Attribution
Pro-Kremlin media outlets spread the disinformation that the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov accused presidential candidates of shady financing of their electoral campaigns. They allegedly use “unknown funds” for their campaigns.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Russian Security Chief Warns of Ukraine Split January 21, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
In an apparent effort to sow further discord ahead of the 2019 elections, Nikolai Patrushev warns that if Ukraine continues to pursue its current policy, this may result in “the loss of Ukraine’s statehood.”
Analysis and Attribution
Kremlin-backed outlet TASS published a piece highlighting Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev’s condemnation of Ukraine as a country on the verge of losing its statehood. This seems like a brazen attempt to instill fear and uncertainty in Ukrainians before they head to the polls on March 31.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Kremlin Repeats False Narratives Five Years After Maidan February 1, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
The Kremlin’s disinformation campaign that accompanied its invasion of Ukraine five years ago continues to propagate fake news during the pivotal Ukrainian presidential election cycle today.
Analysis and Attribution
During Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s press-conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2018, Lavrov once again repeated some of the most notorious false narratives. In reality, there was no coup, no matter how many times the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine keeps repeating it.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Propagandists Claim the UK Wants Pro-Russian President January 27, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
In order to portray Ukraine as a country governed from abroad, several Kremlin-controlled outlets spread the false message that the United Kingdom wishes to have a pro-Russian president in Ukraine.
Analysis and Attribution
Three Russian pro-Kremlin outlets spread the same piece of disinformation that the United Kingdom plans to interfere in Ukrainian elections. The British plan is to allegedly ensure the election of a pro-Russian candidate. In order to back up their statement, the disinformation-oriented outlets quoted a non-existent report from the House of Commons.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Chemical Weapons Against Ukraine’s Image January 24, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
On January 22, 2019, the Information Resistance group published photos of chemical containers “made in Ukraine” found in Syria. This potential damage to Ukraine’s image seems to be yet another attempt to delegitimize Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections.
Analysis and Attribution
The Kremlin is seemingly trying to undermine Ukraine’s international image in the lead-up to the elections by accusing Ukraine of violating international norms and non-proliferation regimes. There were numerous allegations about the Ukrainian military preparing chemical attacks in The Donbas during the last few months.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Facebook to Ban Foreign Political Ads January 23, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
According to national news agency Ukrinform’s correspondent in New York, Facebook plans to ban political advertising coming from abroad during the presidential election campaigns in Ukraine. This measure marks one of Facebook’s steps to improve security conditions and limit foreign interference.
Analysis and Attribution
Facebook claims that it came up with the relevant methodology to differentiate ads coming from foreign countries. “By political advertising, we mean advertising of politicians, political parties, mobilization of voters, and/or restraining them from voting. Party slogans and symbols will also be considered. We determine whether political advertising is coming from abroad based on analyses of the user’s activity, ads manager profile, or a page,” Facebook’s spokesperson told Ukrinform.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Cyber Operations Accompany Russian Hostility in the Kerch Strait December 18, 2018 [1] [2]
Summary
There are many well-documented cases of the use of computer network operations for intelligence collection and even force projection.
Analysis and Attribution
Comodo reported a sharp spike in malware detections on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian border, as cyber actors, perhaps from many countries, sought to capitalize on the tense and rapidly unfolding situation.
Update
Task Force analyzes network security incidents in the run-up to the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election, we will try hard to accurately report the facts, but also to assess the credibility of the sources.
Disinformation Potential Damage Russian Propaganda Outlets Push to Delegitimize Ukrainian Elections January 10, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Russian propaganda outlets are seeking to turn the Ukrainian Central Electoral Committee’s (CEC) decision by to close all polling stations in Russia into an attempt to destabilize the fast-approaching presidential elections.
Analysis and Attribution
Since 2012, Ukrainian polling stations have operated in many countries, including Russia; Ukrainian citizens living abroad use them to vote in elections. Five of these polling stations were in Russia. On December 31, 2018, the Ukrainian CEC closed these polling sites for security reasons.
Update
This is yet another concerted effort to spread disinformation, sow mistrust, and destabilize Ukraine during this pivotal time.These claims are saturated in irony given that they emanate from an authoritarian government that stifles protests led by citizens disgruntled and distraught over the Kremlin’s corruption. Such aggressive disinformation efforts call for Ukraine’s allies to defend and uphold Ukraine’s right to host democratic presidential elections in March 2019.
Disinformation Potential Damage Kremlin May Be Preparing Major Offensive Based on Disinformation in State-Backed Media December 17, 2018 [1] [2]
Summary
Apart from trying to blame Ukraine for the incident wherein Russian forces in fact attacked Ukrainian ships, the fresh line of the Kremlin’s propaganda accuses Ukraine of preparing an offensive in the east of the country.
Analysis and Attribution
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova cites war preparations in The Donbas, accusing Kyiv of plotting an armed provocation by taking advantage of the recently imposed martial law. Spreading fear and nervousness before the elections in March take place could be one of the Kremlin’s key objectives.
Update
Russian programming can have two objectives when spreading this kind of disinformation. As we have seen with the Azov Sea incident, Russian outlets had already been building up the situation in the information space a year before the incident itself happened. The second objective might be more subtle – by threatening this kind of aggression, the Kremlin might just be intimidating Ukraine.
Kinetic Potential Damage Putin Threatens Continued Pressure on Ukraine Amidst Elections December 13, 2018 [1] [2]
Summary
President Vladimir Putin said that the conflict in eastern Ukraine would continue “as long as the current authorities remain in power.”
Analysis and Attribution
Putin’s message is a clear signal of his intent to prolong armed conflict in illegally occupied territories in eastern Ukraine if he is not pleased with the results of Ukraine’s 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.Public opinion polls four months out from Election Day show us that none of the “Russia-friendly” candidates have any realistic chances of winning.
Update
Given the circumstances, we should anticipate that the Kremlin’s war card will be played throughout the 2019 electoral cycle in Ukraine, and we should be ready to counteract this. Continued monitoring shows Kremlin-propaganda outlets have claimed that some Ukrainian candidates are part of the "party of war."