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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
Disinformation Potential Damage Russian MFA Spokeswoman: Ukrainians Are Still Being Cheated April 19, 2019 [1]
Summary
Following the presidential debates in Ukraine, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condescendingly argued that the debates were “a circus," and Ukrainians were being deceived.
Analysis and Attribution
“I watched the debates in Kyiv. The deceiving of Ukrainians continues. On the other hand, what if they like living like that? Furthermore, what a fortune that people in Crimea have recognized this at the right time and made their escape from this circus,” Maria Zakharova said. The debates in Ukraine, of course, stand in stark contrast to the lack of any such debates in her own country.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Hacked Emails Claim Moscow Backs Zelenskiy April 17, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukraine’s security services are investigating whether Ukrainian presidential front runner Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s campaign received financing from Russia, as suggested by a tranche of hacked emails.
Analysis and Attribution
A Ukrainian hacking group associated with the non-profit Myrotvorets Center released a set of hacked emails suggesting that Russian security officials may have funded Zelenskiy’s presidential campaign, in part via cryptocurrency. Some financing may have come from Kremlin insider Vladislav Surkov, who is known for using unconventional warfare tactics against Ukraine. Experts say the emails look authentic but that it is impossible to verify every message.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage SBU Thwarts Terrorist Group Before Election April 17, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
On April 17, four days before the second round of the presidential election, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported their success in neutralizing "a sabotage-terrorist group of Russia’s special services."
Analysis and Attribution
According to SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak, the Russian GRU sent several such groups to Ukraine either directly from Russia or through the occupied territories. The SBU arrested seven people. Among them is the Russian agent who survived his botched car bombing of a Ukrainian military intelligence officer on April 4. Additional information obtained by the SBU apparently indicates that the GRU has similar plans for other countries.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Zelenskiy is Responsible for the Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral April 15, 2019 [1]
Summary
Russia-news.ru is quoting Russian astrolog Yulianna Amosova who said that Zelenskiy's visit to Paris and the fire at Notre Dame are connected. Amosova claims that the fire is a signal to Macron, to France, and to all of Ukraine that the meeting between Macron and Zelenskiy was a bad idea.
Analysis and Attribution
However ridiculous this claim sounds, this idea gained some traction even in Ukraine; it got picked up by political scientist and TV host Taras Berezovets, who made a similar claim in a Facebook post. It was received with a fierce reaction by the French ambassador in Ukraine, who called this allegation "shameless."
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Kurt Volker is Interfering in the Ukrainian Affairs April 13, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Pro-Kremlin media outlets lifted a quote by Victor Medvedchuk and claimed that US Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker interfered in Ukrainian domestic affairs and broke Ukrainian law by publicly endorsing Petro Poroshenko for reelection.
Analysis and Attribution
Medvedchuk also added that Volker started meddling back in 2014. In fact, Volker said in an interview that during Poroshenko's presidency, Ukraine underwent more reforms than in the last 20 years. This message has been repeated by many Western leaders and recognized by the US as well. US officials have repeatedly stated that Ukraine's election should be free and fair, regardless of the winner.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Ukraine-EU Cybersecurity Cooperation April 13, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
The European Union (EU) hopes to increase cooperation in cyberspace with its partners. Ukraine is ready to share its experience.
Analysis and Attribution
According to EU officials, the cyber threats against European countries are increasing. Ukraine during the years of the hybrid war with Russia has become a testing ground for various means of hostile intervention, so engagement with Ukraine will enable the EU to understand what is happening in cyberspace and how to protect from cyber threats.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage US and Canada Improve Cybersecurity with Ukraine April 11, 2019 [1]
Summary
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that cooperation on cybersecurity between Ukraine, the United States, and Canada allows the three states to collectively improve their defenses.
Analysis and Attribution
Freeland said, “We have grounds for concern about hostile interference in our democracy. It definitely takes place and we need to look for the ways to resist it with the approach of the elections,” and that cooperation between Canada and Ukraine is “really mutually beneficial, when the issue is about the defense of our democracies." Canada has its next election this autumn.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Russian Media Question Legitimacy of Round Two April 10, 2019 [1]
Summary
The message that Ukraine's presidential election could be rigged has been repeatedly promoted by Kremlin-controlled media. Izvestia newspaper featured an article that claimed that “the only thing that could save the current President is large-scale falsifications."
Analysis and Attribution
“Ukrainians are being persuaded to vote for Poroshenko,” the article states. In the lead-up to the first round of the presidential election on March 31, Kremlin-backed media together with public officials had been actively promoting the same forecast: the election could be rigged. However, the first round of the election received positive remarks from both domestic and international observers. Even so, the Kremlin continues to try to undermine the legitimacy of this presidential election.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Cyberattacks Didn’t Affect the First Round Results April 10, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
The Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CECU) has published the results of the first round of the presidential elections. Although cyberattacks were conducted on CECU systems, it didn’t affect the process of determining the winners of the first round.
Analysis and Attribution
Russia launched cyberattacks against the CECU IT-systems during the first round of the presidential election campaign on March 31; however, Moscow’s attempts fell short since the CECU successfully blocked these cyberattacks.Ukrainian officials believe that cyber threats from Russia failed to interfere with the first round election results. Given none of the candidates won a majority, the second round of voting will take place on April 21.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Russian Media Accuse the West of Interference April 9, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Kremlin-backed outlets pushed the message that the United States provided grants to Ukrainian NGOs “to control Ukrainian elections."
Analysis and Attribution
On a Russian TV show, a presenter stated that “US-controlled social media” blocked advertisements of Volodymyr Zelenskiy and advocated for Petro Poroshenko. “This is interference,” he said, despite lacking any evidence of this supposed blocking of advertisements. Similarly, Russia Today pushed the message that the United States sponsors Ukrainian NGOs to control the presidential election.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Kurt Volker: Russia Tries To Manipulate Ukrainian Elections April 5, 2019 [1]
Summary
Kurt Volker, a US Special Representative for Ukraine, claimed that Russia is trying to influence the Ukrainian presidential election. He stated that the situation in Ukraine looks similar to “elections that we have seen in France or with the case of Brexit or even in the United States."
Analysis and Attribution
Volker did not overestimate the impact of the Kremlin’s interference since “it's very hard to mess with people's own sense of their own interests." Furthermore, he stated that the Kremlin would go on with its aggressive policy regardless of who wins the election. “They have invaded. They have taken territory. They keep the fighting going. You see all kinds of propaganda, R.T., Sputnik, cyberattacks. The whole toolbox is on display in Ukraine,” he said.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Failed Assassination Plot in Kyiv April 4, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
A man passed away following the premature detonation of an explosive device placed under a Ukrainian military intelligence officer's vehicle. The explosion took place at 2 a.m. near a shopping mall in Kyiv. Reportedly, the man held a Kyrgyz passport and came to Kyiv from Moscow.
Analysis and Attribution
A series of almost identical car bombings took place in Ukraine in recent years. Among the victims were prominent figures including high-ranking military officers, journalists, and businessmen. The latest attack can be categorized as another attempt to destabilize Ukraine in the lead-up to the runoff election on April 21.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Ukrainian Military Shelled The Donbas on Election Day April 2, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Russian media reported that on the day of the presidential election, Ukraine’s military supposedly shelled the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) trying to provoke a reaction so as to disrupt polling in the frontline regions.
Analysis and Attribution
The OSCE Ukraine Special Monitoring Mission report for March 31 refuted claims of a shelling by Ukraine's military in the DNR; the monitors note that the situation on the frontline was calm during the presidential election. The Mission also “observed a calm situation at entry-exit checkpoints in government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions."
Update
Disinformation Direct Malfeasance In Ukraine, Russia Tests a New Facebook Tactic in Election Tampering April 2, 2019 [1]
Summary
The Kremlin is adapting its approach for interference in Ukraine's elections. Instead of using bots and fake accounts, the Kremlin targeted real people, paying them to access their personal accounts to spread disinformation and fake narratives.
Analysis and Attribution
According to the NYT, Facebook is the future platform of propaganda. “Disinformation will be spread not by foreign actors, but by citizens looking to sway the opinions of fellow citizens... Foreigners who want to meddle with a country’s elections will look to hire people locally, through bribery or trickery, to do their bidding.”
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Warnings About Massive Cyberattacks That Didn’t Materialize April 2, 2019
Summary
Cyberattacks against Ukraine's electoral infrastructure did not materialize during March 31 vote, despite warnings from the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, as well as the Security Service of Ukraine, about Russian’s plan to launch cyber operations.
Analysis and Attribution
The first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine passed without significant attempts by Russia to cyberattack the Central Election Commission or local polling stations. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, said that Moscow has attempted to create cyber disturbance in the work of the electoral system of Ukraine, but cyber-specialists are tracking and blocking threats.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Ukraine Says No Major Cyberattacks Against Election—Yet April 1, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced that, as of April 1, they have not detected any significant cyberattacks on the election have so far.
Analysis and Attribution
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov remains cautious, stating “The CEC monitored several attempts to crawl the vulnerability of the CEC web server, which may indicate attempts to break it. We have identified which IPs…they are located in Russia and in Kyiv.” He said, “We assume that, if there is any attack, it will be done at the moment of vote counting."
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: 10 million Ukrainians Denied the Right to Vote in Ukraine’s Presidential Election March 31, 2019 [1]
Summary
Website Tsargrad.tv reports that 10 million voters have been denied the right to vote in Ukraine’s presidential election. The report is referring to Ukrainians residing in the Russian Federation and The Donbas.
Analysis and Attribution
The number of Ukrainian citizens living in Russia and the occupied territories in The Donbas is around 6 million, and they can vote in the Ukrainian presidential election. Pavlo Klimkin underscored that Ukrainians who currently reside in Russia can vote at polling stations in Ukraine according to their registration. All other persons can cast their vote in elections in the Ukrainian embassies in Georgia, Finland, and Kazakhstan.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Kyiv Prevented The Donbas Residents From Voting March 31, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
“Official Kyiv” is taking the right to vote away from residents of The Donbas in Ukraine’s presidential elections. This fake was distributed by Russia’s First Channel. The item reports that not a single voting station was opened in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
Analysis and Attribution
According to OPORA civic network, an election watchdog, voting stations were, in fact, opened not far from the frontlines in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In the Donetsk regions, there are twelve electoral districts (for an estimated 1.4 million voters), while in the Luhansk region, there are 6 districts (for an estimated 522,000 voters). They all opened at 8 a.m. and are functioning at this time.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Central Election Commission Ready to Respond to Russia’s Meddling in Election March 31, 2019 [1]
Summary
The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Ukraine is ready on a “moral and a technical” level to respond to possible cyber interference by Russia on Election Day.
Analysis and Attribution
CEC chairperson Tetiana Slipachuk said “The CEC has taken appropriate steps to strengthen cybersecurity measures, including the purchase of new equipment, etc. Therefore, we are ready on a moral and a technical level to respond to the challenges.” Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service previously stated that Russia planned to launch cyberattacks on the CEC server on the day of presidential elections.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Conscription Notices To Be Handed Out at Polling Stations March 31, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Ukrainians are being misled by reports circulating in media, social media, and even on notice boards outside apartment buildings in Lviv oblast, that army conscription notices will be handed out at voting stations.
Analysis and Attribution
Volodymyr Fityo, Press Secretary of Lviv oblast Military Commissariat commented, “The leaflets provide contact telephone [numbers] of the Lviv oblast military commissariat. This is discrimination against military commissariat operations. On Election Day, our military service personnel will only be performing their civic duty: to elect the president. Nobody will be handing out any notices or check out lists.”
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Russian High-Level Officials Predict Rigged Elections in Ukraine March 31, 2019 [1]
Summary
On the eve of Ukrainian presidential elections, Leonid Slutskyi, the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, expressed concerns over “possible falsifications and manipulations with voters’ personal data” during election day in Ukraine, as well as expected “provocations."
Analysis and Attribution
Slutskyi accused Kyiv of violating the electoral rights of Russian-speakers, and limiting freedom of media with regards to elections. In addition, the Russian official questioned the trustworthiness of European observers. “The West has turned its blind eye on the atrocities of the Ukrainian government against its own people,” Slutskyi stated. He doubted that the elections could be “transparent and democratic” since “the legitimacy of elections has been undermined from its very beginning."
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage TASS Hyperbolizes Proportion of Violations in Ukraine's Election March 30, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
On March 31, Russian state-owned information agency TASS continously updated their live feeds dedicated to the Ukrainian presidential elections. Fifty-eight items in total were published in the column; twenty-seven of them concerned violations and wrongdoings within the electoral process.
Analysis and Attribution
TASS resorted to selective reporting to create a distorted image of Ukraine's election. Leading up to the March 31 vote, Russian officials insisted that the elections would be rigged. The leader of the Ukrainian election watchdog Opora, Olha Ajvazovska, told Radio NV that the amount of documented violations, as of the end of March 31, was lower than in previous elections held in the country during the last several years.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Hackers Target Critical Infrastructure Ahead of Election March 30, 2019
Summary
Roman Boyarchuk, head of Ukraine's Cyber Protection Centre, said hackers are trying to penetrate Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure in an effort to sow chaos and confusion around Sunday’s election.
Analysis and Attribution
Boyarchuk wouldn’t say which systems were under attack, only that “some critical infrastructure has been attacked in recent weeks,” and suggested strongly that in some cases hackers currently “have access.”
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Volodymyr Zelensky’s Website Suffers Large-Scale Cyberattack March 30, 2019 [1]
Summary
Despite maintaining a professional cybersecurity staff, robust security practices, and servers based in the US, a large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack succeeded in knocking Zelensky’s website offline.
Analysis and Attribution
Before the website’s existence was even announced, the DDoS overwhelmed the website's servers with 5 million simultaneous requests. This attack would have been quite expensive to buy on the black market, which has led some analysts to believe that the Russian government may be behind it.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Belgian Sociologists Predict Third Place for Boyko March 29, 2019 [1]
Summary
Pro-Kremlin media have shared results of a fake poll conducted by a Belgian-Ukraine Research Institute, according to which pro-Russian candidate Yuri Boyko emerged in third place in the presidential race. Some media commented that Boyko's rating rose after his recent visit to Moscow.
Analysis and Attribution
In reality, the "Belgian-Ukrainian Research Institute" does not exist. Only a website with this name exists; it was registered in Moscow in 2016.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage FISU Warns Again About Cyberattacks March 29, 2019 [1]
Summary
The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (FISU) issued another warning of Kremlin plans for a cyberattack against the Ukrainian presidential election on March 31, 2019.
Analysis and Attribution
The FISU uncovered Russia's plan to conduct unprecedented cyberattacks on the servers of the Central Election Commission and the district election commissions of Ukraine on the day of the first round of the presidential election to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Russia Tests a New Facebook Tactic in Election Tampering in Ukraine March 29, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukrainian authorities announced that they have thwarted a Russian plot to use Facebook to undermine Ukraine’s presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
New York Times writes, “Unlike the 2016 interference in the United States, which centered on fake Facebook pages created by Russians in faraway St. Petersburg, the operation in Ukraine this year had a clever twist. It tried to circumvent Facebook’s new safeguards by paying Ukrainian citizens to give a Russian agent access to their personal pages.“
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Ex-Official of Yanukovych Adminstration Agitates through Kremlin Media March 28, 2019 [1]
Summary
On March 27, former Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov suggested that residents of The Donbas would vote for opposition candidates–Oleksandr Vilkul and Yuriy Boyko. Kremlin-backed Russia Today published Azarov's statements.
Analysis and Attribution
Mykola Azarov chaired the Ukrainian government during Viktor Yanukovych's regime and later fled to Moscow following the Maidan Revolution in 2014. The presidential candidate Yuriy Boyko, supported by pro-Kremlin Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and known for his partiality towards Russia, visited Dmitriy Medvedev in Moscow on March 22.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Russian Military Exercises in Crimea On Eve of Ukraine’s Election March 28, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Russian military exercises occurred in Crimea on the eve of Ukraine’s election.
Analysis and Attribution
From March 23-26, 1,500 paratroopers practiced an assault landing from the air and sea in Russia-occupied Crimea. The paratroopers sought to capture and hold positions on a fortified coastline in order to support the landing of the main force operation backed by artillery, airpower, and battle tanks.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Former Ukrainian SBU Officer Accused Kyiv of Rigging Elections March 28, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
On March 25, Russia Today held a press conference in Moscow to disseminate another portion of disinformation against Ukraine. Former SBU officer Vasiliy Prozorov, who had collaborated with Russian intelligence from 2014-2018, spoke at the press conference.
Analysis and Attribution
Prozorov “confirmed” that the United States had killed people during the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014; he claimed that MH17 had been hit by Ukraine's army. Prozorov allegedly offered evidence that Ukraine's government controls the entire electronic voting system in a supposed attempt to manipulate the election results in favor of the current government. The SBU confirmed that Vasiliy Prozorov had been its employee, but was dismissed due to alcohol addiction.
Update
Disinformation Direct Malfeasance Russia Registers Bill Denouncing Ukraine's Election Results March 27, 2019 [1]
Summary
Russian lawmaker and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky introduced a bill to denounce the outcome of Ukraine's presidential election, claiming evidence of mass electoral fraud and voter intimidation.
Analysis and Attribution
Zhirinovsky, a member of the Kremlin-controlled LDPR party, appears convinced that the election will be rigged in favor of the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. The bill says that "radicals that came to power after a coup d'etat in 2014 and who are responsible for unrest in the country are unable to ensure an honest and politically responsible election campaign, especially when Western sponsors encourage anti-Russian policies."
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Facebook Removes Inauthentic Accounts Linked to Russia March 26, 2019 [1]
Summary
Facebook has removed 1,907 Facebook pages, groups, and accounts for engaging in spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior linked to Russia.
Analysis and Attribution
The individuals behind these activities used fake accounts primarily to operate Facebook groups and pages posting spam content. Additionally, a small number of the posted content on Facebook related to Ukrainian news and politics, including the following: the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, local and regional politics, Ukrainian nationalism, refugee issues, the Ukrainian military, the situation in Crimea, and corruption.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: EU and US Opened a Criminal Case Against Poroshenko March 25, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
A number of pro-Kremlin media distributed information about criminal cases allegedly opened against Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko in the EU and the United States. The Russian outlets quote Ukraine’s presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, who made the claim during a press conference.
Analysis and Attribution
Following the spread of allegations against Poroshenko, Ukrainian media outlets turned to the European Anti-Fraud Office, which denied the veracity of the claim. “OLAF confirms that there are no investigations related to the president of Ukraine. In the event that any information that may be of interest to the investigation, OLAF will evaluate it in the context of our usual procedures,” OLAF said according to Evropeyska Pravda.
Update
Kinetic Direct Malfeasance Boyko and Medvedev Try to Restore Friendly Economic Relations March 24, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
On March 22, 2019, the controversial oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and presidential candidate Yuriy Boyko met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev to discuss how to improve economic cooperation between Russia and Ukraine–particularly with regard to gas supplies and transit.
Analysis and Attribution
Boyko made no demands for Russia to end its occupation of Crimea and The Donbas; instead, he suggested the creation of a gas transport consortium in Ukraine with Russia as a shareholder. Head of Gazprom Alexey Miller, who attended the meeting, supported the idea. Hosting the meeting one week before Ukraine's election day signaled that under the current administration in Kyiv, energy deliveries aren’t secure, which may hurt the population whose livelihood depends on gas prices (and subsidies).
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Hackers Sent Fake Emails from Ukrainian Minister March 22, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukrainian Cyber Police reported that hackers disseminated a fake email about Ukraine’s upcoming election, and that the email was alleged written in Russia on March 21, 2019.
Analysis and Attribution
The fake email allegedly written and sent by the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov openly supported one of the presidential candidates in the election and claimed that the Central Election Commission (CEC) committed legal violations.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Ukraine’s Security Service Foils Terrorist Attack March 22, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) successfully prevented a terrorist attack in Kharkiv aimed at destabilizing the political situation on the eve of the March 31 presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
According to the SBU, the Russian FSB recruited a Kharkiv resident to set off an explosion in one of Kharkiv's metro stations. The Kremlin curators provided the suspect with an explosive device, instructions, and fifteen dollars. The suspect was spotted buying nails and screws to increase the lethal effect of the explosion.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Cyberattacks Still on the Rise March 21, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
With just ten days remaining before the round-one vote of the Ukrainian presidential election, the authorities, as well as the Ukrainian Central Election Commission (UCEC), saw a spike in the number of cyberattacks launched on Ukraine's election infrastructure.
Analysis and Attribution
On March 21, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and the central executive authorities under its control are switching to an enhanced duty regime. In total, more than 134,000 law enforcement officers will be involved in ensuring the security of the electoral process. The head of the Cyber Police Sergei Demedyuk claimed that hacker groups, such as Fancy Bear, The Shadow Brokers, and others related to Russia, were active in Ukrainian cyberspace.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Venediktov Declares the Most Desirable Winner March 21, 2019 [1]
Summary
Alexei Venediktov, Editor-in-Chief of Echo of Moscow, announced, while pretending to channel Putin's thinking, which of the Ukrainian presidential candidates would be the most desirable winner for Russia.
Analysis and Attribution
Venediktov said that "if we are talking about our Russian candidate in Ukraine…Mister Chaos is our candidate. The more chaos--the weaker a candidate is--the more beneficial for Russia, according to Putin...Mr. Chaos will satisfy us." In Venediktov’s opinion, the candidates' names and stances on Russia matter little, because the results of the election will inevitably lead to chaos in Ukraine, not in March or April, but in September and October.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Europol Warns of Large-Scale International Cyberattacks March 21, 2019 [1]
Summary
Europol pointed to WannaCry (believed to have been launched by North Korea) and NotPetya (thought to be of Russian origin and targeted at Ukraine), as examples of incidents which prove that existing cyber defenses are insufficient.
Analysis and Attribution
"The possibility of a large-scale cyberattack having serious repercussions in the physical world and crippling an entire sector or society, is no longer unthinkable," warned Europol, the European Union's (EU) law enforcement agency. "It is of critical importance that we increase cyber preparedness in order to protect the EU and its citizens from large scale cyberattacks," said Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director of Operations at Europol.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Ukraine Refuses to Accredit German Monitors March 19, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Pro-Russian propaganda outlets claim that Ukraine is refusing to accredit German monitors for the presidential election in Ukraine. Supposedly, Kyiv fears that Germans with a pro-Russian position might come to Ukraine as election monitors. They also claim this caused a diplomatic scandal in Germany.
Analysis and Attribution
In reality, thirteen German election monitors already have accreditation for Ukraine's upcoming presidential election. An additional fourteen monitors will come from France. Moreover, all foreign monitors are registered with international organizations that are monitoring elections; no one will monitor as an independent individual.
Update
Kinetic Direct Malfeasance Confectionery Shops–Owned by President Poroshenko–Set on Fire in Kyiv March 18, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
A number of attacks on “Roshen” shops occurred during last few months. According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), a member of the “White Balaklava” extremist organization carried out the latest attack as part of a bigger plan to disrupt the fast-approaching presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
A month ago, the SBU “exposed large-scale plans on 'hybrid' interference in the Ukrainian elections." According to the report, the "White Balaklava" members acted upon Moscow's instructions. The SBU also presented a number of facts and names to prove the case.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Fake: Poroshenko Wanted to Exchange Crimea for NATO Membership March 17, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Russian media cherry-picked from an interview with Mikheil Saakashvili during which he claims that back in 2014, Petro Poroshenko purportedly told him that since Crimea would not return to Ukraine, he planned to "exchange it" for EU and NATO membership.
Analysis and Attribution
Saakashvili is referring to a private discussion between himself and Poroshenko that cannot be fact-checked. However, Poroshenko has not in the past five years publicly expressed any position on Crimea besides that of non-recognition of the Crimean annexation. There has been no mention of any "deals" or "exchanges." This position is reflected in his numerous speeches and the official documents of the Presidential Administration.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage EU and NATO Strengthen Ukraine's Cybersecurity March 17, 2019 [1]
Summary
On March 17, 2019, one hundred Western experts took part in cybersecurity exercises with Ukraine's Security Services (SBU) ahead of Ukraine's March 31 vote.
Analysis and Attribution
Ukraine's cybersecurity experts and its Central Election Commission (CEC) received new training, hardware, and software ahead of Ukraine's fast-approaching presidential election. Moreover, experts conducted simulated foreign cyberattacks, where EU personnel launched hacking attacks against Ukraine, while local experts sought to neutralize the attacks.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Increased Cyberattacks in the Run-Up to Ukraine's Presidential Election March 11, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Ukrainian officials report an increase in cyberattacks three weeks before the first round of the country's presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
Cabinet members and heads of the cybersecurity divisions of the police and the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) all described frequent attacks on the IT systems of state agencies and the computers of civil servants associated with the Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CECU). Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze complained that Ukraine is currently experiencing mass interference from Russia through enhanced cyberattacks.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Kremlin Media Claim Election Will be the Dirtiest in Ukraine's History March 8, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Pro-Russian media manipulated results of an opinion survey conducted by Ukrainian sociological centers. The propagandists lifted certain results out of context in order to claim that Ukrainians are deeply demoralized and do not believe that the upcoming election will be fair.
Analysis and Attribution
Although many poll respondents answered that they expect violations, when asked whether they have experienced any violations of the electoral code themselves, 45.5 percent answered they have never experienced such violations. 34.7 percent think there will be violations, but they will not affect the final result. 30.8 percent answered there will be violations, which will affect the final result. 17.5 said that all results will be falsified, while 15.7 percent found it difficult to answer.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Facebook Bans Foreign Political Ads in Ukrainian & Indonesian Elections March 5, 2019 [1]
Summary
Facebook's ban aims to safeguard 'election integrity' and allay concerns of malicious actors using its platform to manipulate voting behavior. Russia is believed to have used Facebook to influence the 2016 US presidential election and the UK's referendum on Brexit.
Analysis and Attribution
Facebook said it is using automated and human intervention to identify foreign-funded election advertisements that “reference politicians or political parties or attempt to encourage or suppress voting." Ukraine’s election is on March 31, and Indonesia’s on April 17. However, Al Jazeera reported that it was able to trick Facebook's automated system during Nigeria’s recent election.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage SBU Prevents Cyberattack on the Central Elections Commission March 5, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
One month before the first round of Ukraine's presidential election, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) prevented an attack on the IT system of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CECU).
Analysis and Attribution
The SBU claims that the cyberattack was aimed at blocking access to information about the preparation for the upcoming presidential election in the country. Despite the hidden nature of the attack, the SBU specialists are trying to verify the possibility of Russian intelligence services and their hacker groups involved in it due to the political and strategic goals this attack pursued.
Update
Disinformation Direct Malfeasance Fake: European Parliament Accused Poroshenko of Creating Church Schism March 3, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
According to a recent RT piece, the research center of the European Parliament claims that Petro Poroshenko created the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to improve his chances in Ukraine's upcoming presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
The analytical piece to which RT refers does not accuse Poroshenko of creating a "schism; it outlines Kremlin influence on the Russian Orthodox Church and how the Church functions as a tool of Russian soft power in Ukraine. As such, the report notes that Russia is unlikely to willingly relinquish this tool of influence. As for the elections, the analysts acknowledge that the Tomos might play a role, but that the impact of the creation of the independent church is much more far-reaching.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Dmytro Shymkiv Cites Cybersecurity Progress Before Elections, Says More Needed March 1, 2019 [1]
Summary
Dmytro Shymkiv, former Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and former General Manager of “Microsoft Ukraine," said that Ukraine’s presidential office has been the target of many cyberattacks—but has also grown stronger because of them.
Analysis and Attribution
Shymkiv said that Russian secret services have for years been actively trying to influence Ukraine's internal politics. Hacker groups with ties to the Kremlin have consistently tried to destabilize Ukraine with cyberattacks, such as the Petya virus, on elections, media, infrastructure, and businesses. Although the United States has aided Ukraine in cybersecurity development, there is still much work to do, including protecting the “election data system."
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Russia May Respond to US Cyberattack, Potentially in Ukraine February 28, 2019 [1]
Summary
The United States conducted a cyberattack against the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) to protect its 2018 election. Russia may retaliate, possibly by launching its own cyberattacks on the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
The US Army Cyber Command blocked Internet services to the IRA, also known as the Kremlin's “troll factory," on the day of the US midterm elections in November 2018. The IRA is believed to have taken part in Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election. From his perspective, Russian President Vladimir Putin may interpret this news negatively and decide to retaliate. One asymmetric yet logical target could be Ukraine’s presidential election on March 31.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Ukrainian President Accuses Russia of Cyberattacks Against Election February 26, 2019 [1]
Summary
Just weeks before Ukraine’s presidential election, President Petro Poroshenko says that on February 24-25 Russia launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyberattack on Ukraine’s Central Election Commission. Poroshenko said that the United States helped stop the attack.
Analysis and Attribution
Ukrainian national security and law enforcement authorities “developed protection mechanisms” against the attack in coordination with “our American partners,” Poroshenko said. In May 2018, the US State Department pledged $10 million in cybersecurity aid to Ukraine.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Hackers Release Kremlin Documents February 26, 2019 [1]
Summary
Hacktivists, allegedly from Ukraine and Russia, stole and leaked tens of thousands of Russian government emails and documents. The leak revealed numerous alleged Russian covert activities in Ukraine. The incident could presage similar hacks or invite retaliation prior to Ukraine’s upcoming election.
Analysis and Attribution
The hacker group called itself Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS), and its operation “The Dark Side of the Kremlin." The documents, originally released in late January, include files and communications of Russian political, military, oligarchic, religious figures, and separatists in The Donbas. For Ukraine, the leaks describe material support and financial control of separatist leaders, media strategy, "active measures," and alleged plans to seize more territory in Dnipro and Zaporizhia.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Ukrainian Cybersecurity Forces Have Unique Experience February 25, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
For almost five years, the Ukrainian cybersecurity forces have successfully repelled Russian hackers' attacks on critical infrastructure and IT-systems.
Analysis and Attribution
Last year Ukrainian cybersecurity forces blocked 300 cyberattacks, some of which could have been as destructive as the NotPetya and Black Energy viruses. As a result of their efforts over the last five years, they have acquired unique experience that will help European cybersecurity teams to deflect similar attacks on the European parliamentary elections.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Questioning EU and Nato Integration Will Become Illegal February 23, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Russian media have spread the fake news that questioning of Ukraine's strategic course of EU and NATO integration will become unconstitutional and illegal.
Analysis and Attribution
In February, the Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine signaling the country's intention to obtain full membership in the European Union and NATO. Russian propagandist media immediately reacted to this by spreading the fake news that questioning Kyiv's proposed course will be unconstitutional and illegal. The changes only cement Ukraine's aspirations for its external orientation and have nothing to do with the criminal code and freedom of expression.
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Former Lt. Gen. James Clapper: Russia Attacked Both Ukrainian and US Elections February 22, 2019 [1]
Summary
Lt. Gen. James Clapper (ret.), former Director of National Intelligence, said the Kremlin meddled in Ukraine’s 2014 elections, then used the same techniques against the 2016 US presidential election.
Analysis and Attribution
Clapper said Ukraine was a laboratory for Vladimir Putin to test the effectiveness of various military tactics, including attacks on the power grid, "little green men," propaganda, and the use of social networks. He added that it is very important to understand cyber warfare techniques because it is difficult to oppose them.
Update
Disinformation Direct Malfeasance Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Exposes “Election Pyramid Scheme” February 21, 2019 [1]
Summary
Deputy Head of the SBU Viktor Kononenko stated that the SBU recently exposed the "election pyramid scheme," apparently headed by a Member of Parliament (MP) in Ukraine. Kononenko said, “we do not name him deliberately to not tie him to any political forces.”
Analysis and Attribution
Kononenko explained that the scheme involved three coordinators responsible for two different regions of Ukraine in addition to "such staff as common workers." Their activity appeared to be local—and not countrywide—in nature.
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage EU Allegedly Plans to Restrict Visa-Free Regime with Ukraine February 21, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
According to some Kremlin-controlled media outlets, not every Ukrainian will be able to travel freely in Europe now. These outlets claim that the European Union (EU) decided to restrict its visa-free regime with Ukraine and will require Ukrainians to pay for special permission to enter the EU.
Analysis and Attribution
Both publications cite the European Council which allegedly has decided to curtail visa-free travel for Ukrainians and add new administrative demands. The stories do not provide any specifics as to these new requirements, nor do they link to any official EU documents to support their claim.
Update
Kinetic Potential Damage Provocative Attacks on Churches February 19, 2019 [1]
Summary
A number of provocative attacks on churches belonging to UOC-MP took place in the southern regions of Ukraine recently. Reportedly, these actions were orchestrated by the same people, since most occurred in a similar way, involving arson and Nazi or extreme right-wing symbols depicted on walls.
Analysis and Attribution
Vasyl Hrytsak, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), reported during a briefing on February 18, 2019, that the SBU “collected uncontested evidence illustrating that these actions were ordered, set up, and financed by Russian special services,” and “aimed to destabilize the social and political situation in our country via the use of artificial religious conflicts."
Update
Cyber Direct Malfeasance Hacked Computer Projects Swastika at Kyiv Shopping Mall February 19, 2019 [1]
Summary
Computer hackers tried to promote a common Kremlin narrative in Kyiv, by hacking a shopping mall’s computer and displaying the image of a swastika on the wall during a dance competition.
Analysis and Attribution
The Kyiv-based Gorodok Gallery administration apologized and said their computer system was hacked. The image of a swastika feeds the Kremlin's narrative of Ukraine, or its government, as home to Nazis or Nazi-sympathizers. The hackers’ desire may have been to embarrass Ukraine and also to generate fear and anger among the Russian public, whose memories of World War II are still strong. On the Internet and via social media, such stories can go viral and travel quickly across the planet.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Ukraine Plans Joint Cyber Exercises with EU February 19, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukraine said intelligence indicates Russia will use cyberattacks to influence its election. The National Coordination Center for Cybersecurity met to consider the security of electoral servers and national readiness to counteract cyberattacks.
Analysis and Attribution
Ukraine drafted a "Concept of Preparation for Repelling Military Aggression in Cyberspace" as part of its defense sector reform and development, fulfillment of tasks to achieve interoperability with NATO, and counteraction to cyber threats in hybrid war. Ukraine will conduct joint cyber exercises with the EU for threat modeling purposes. A 24-hour working group has been established “to identify, prevent and suppress any unauthorized actions with the CEC information resources."
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Cyberattacks Rise Prior to Ukraine's Election, Offer Lessons for EU February 19, 2019 [1]
Summary
Cyberattacks have spiked prior to the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election, and the EU, with its own election at the end of May, is watching and learning. What takes place in Ukraine could provide valuable insight on hacker tools and techniques the EU may soon see.
Analysis and Attribution
Hackers have recently targeted Ukrainian officials in a “mass phishing” campaign in an effort to install malware on their computers via emails disguised as holiday greetings or government correspondence. Critical infrastructure and election networks have been under constant stress. Ukraine is watching active hacker groups with names like Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear, and Turla. The U.S. and Europe are assisting Ukraine via the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
Update
Disinformation Potential Damage Ukraine Is the Most Dangerous Country in the World February 19, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Several pro-Kremlin sites published stories claiming that the United Nations had called Ukraine the most dangerous country in the world.
Analysis and Attribution
Russian Defense Ministry television channel Zvezda completely distorted the UN tweet, claiming that Ukraine was included in the list of the most mined and dangerous countries in the world because of the events in The Donbas. The original UN tweet reads as follows: "East #Ukraine is one of the most #mine contaminated areas in the world, with the highest number of anti-vehicle mine incidents globally for three consecutive years."
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Cyber Threat Sharing Platform February 19, 2019 [1] [2]
Summary
Ukraine need not only be a recipient of Western assistance in cybersecurity; it can be a contributor to unified security system developments in Europe by sharing cyber threat information.
Analysis and Attribution
Ukraine can contribute to unified security system development in Europe. Last year the SSU launched the MISP-UA (Ukrainian Malware Information Sharing Platform) to protect the upcoming elections from Russian cyber threats. The MISP will help share information about cyber threats to critical infrastructure and government IT-systems in real time. Moreover, Ukrainian cybersecurity forces will acquire valuable cyber defense experience that may be useful for EU countries.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Facebook Deletes Accounts Spreading Disinformation Prior to Moldova Election February 14, 2019 [1]
Summary
Facebook removed nearly 200 accounts for spreading “fake news” about Moldova prior to its Feb 24, 2019 election. The accounts also misled users about their true identities. Controversial political topics included Russian language education in Moldova and Moldova’s political relations with Romania.
Analysis and Attribution
Moldova’s election is roughly 5 weeks before Ukraine’s election. Moldova’s government is currently divided between pro-Russian and pro-Western lawmakers. Moldova’s government in recent years has shifted to a pro-EU stance, similar to Ukraine in 2014. Moscow has accused the U.S. of meddling in the Moldovan election. Roughly 54,000 accounts followed at least one of the pages that had false information or account data.
Update
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
Cyber Potential Damage Hacking Intensifies as Presidential Election Nears February 13, 2019 [1]
Summary
Ukraine's Cyber Police Chief Serhiy Demedyuk said Russian-controlled digital saboteurs may attack Ukraine’s Central Election Commission and/or its employees, individual polling stations, and various regions, either before the election or during the vote count.
Analysis and Attribution
Demedyuk said attacks may distort the vote count or simply diminish the election’s credibility. Hackers have impersonated election officials in order to penetrate the computers of commission staff. The attacks include misinformation and social engineering. Tactics are often tested in Ukraine before use in other countries. Ukraine is actively following hacker groups that the U.S. Department of Justice claims are affiliated with Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU).
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Russian Intelligence Preparing “Serious” Cyberattacks Targeting Elections February 12, 2019 [1]
Summary
Oleksandr Klymchuk, Head of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of State Interests in the Field of Information, said Russian special services may attack the electronic systems of the Central Election Commission and critical infrastructure like transport, communications, finance, energy.
Analysis and Attribution
In response to this cyberattack threat, the National Security and Defense Council has blocked about 200 websites promoting Russian ideology that pose threats to Ukrainian national security and blocked 2,000 fake online accounts. Another 100 websites are under consideration to be blocked soon. Moreover, the SBU has been documenting and registering online “agitators” who it believes collaborate with Russian authorities to discredit the Ukrainian electoral process in exchange for money.
Update
Cyber Potential Damage Ukraine Among Top 10 Worst Countries for Cybersecurity February 7, 2019 [1]
Summary
British research firm Comparitech released a study examining the state of cybersecurity in 60 countries. Ukraine was determined to be the “10th least cyber-secure.” In 2018, 28 percent of computers and 11 percent of phones in Ukraine were found to be infected with malware.
Analysis and Attribution
The study not only evaluated the percentage of computers/phones infected with malware, but it also assessed the number of financial attacks, telnet attacks, cryptominers, and whether national cybersecurity legislation was up-to-date. Other low-scoring countries included Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The most cyber-secure list included Japan, France, Canada, Denmark, and the United States. One plus for Ukraine was that, in this study, it had the lowest rate of financial malware.
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 Ukraine's Presidential Candidates Accused of Shady Financing January 28, 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 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 election.
Analysis and Attribution
The Kremlin is seemingly trying to undermine Ukraine’s international image in the lead-up to the election 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
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 Russian Propaganda Outlets Push to Delegitimize Ukrainian Election 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 election.
Analysis and Attribution
Since 2012, Ukrainian polling stations have operated in many countries, including Russia; Ukrainian citizens living abroad use them to vote in election. 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 election in March 2019.
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 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."