Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the G20 summit, Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 0917 GMT:
A Ukrainian outlet remembers the 10th anniversary of mass protests in Kyiv, including the toppling of the statue of Vladimir Lenin.
The “Revolution of Dignity” would lead to the fall of pro-Kremlin Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 — and to a Russian response including the seizure of Crimea, occupation of part of eastern Ukraine, and a sustained disinformation campaign.
#OTD 2013, Kyiv’s March of Millions filled streets with Rev of Dignity supporters. By evening, 15 civilian “sotnia” self-defense units formed while protests swept Ukraine.
That day also saw Kyiv’s key “Leninfall,” dismantling Lenin’s statue. Over 1,000 monuments removed since. pic.twitter.com/vdjz6icIzY
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) December 8, 2023
UPDATE 0908 GMT:
The Biden Administration has signalled that it will accept restrictions on asylum seekers and accelerated deportations in return for US Congressional approval of aid to Ukraine and Israel.
President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he would be willing to make concessions on border measures.
“A source familiar with discussions” said the Administration is open to raising the bar for initial asylum screenings, and to adopting a provision denying asylum to anyone passing through another country en route to the US.
A fast-track deportation process, “expedited removal”, could be employed nationwide rather than just at the US-Mexico border.
UPDATE 0854 GMT:
Ukraine’s Energy Ministry has advised residents to save energy after a thermal power plant, near the frontline of the Russian invasion, was shelled and seriously damaged.
The Ministry did not identify the plant or location, but said two of its power units have stopped working, causing a “temporary shortage of electricity”.
UPDATE 0813 GMT:
The US and UK have described a Russian campaign of hacking of computers in NATO member states, affecting government agencies, officials, journalists, NGOs, and activists.
The US Justice Department announced the indictment of Russian nationals Ruslan Peretyatko and Andrei Korinets, working for the Star Blizzard group linked to Russia’s FSB State security service.
The men are charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud against the US. If convicted, Korinets could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and Peretyatko up to 5 years.
In May, the Russian-speaking criminal group CL0P breached the email addresses of 632,000 employees from the US Justice and Defense departments. Airlines, universities, and other federal agencies have been targeted in Russian cyber-attacks.
“The Russian government continues to target the critical networks of the United States and our partners, as highlighted by the indictment unsealed today,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said on Thursday.
As part of the “coordinated international response”, the UK sanctioned Star Blizzard hackers Peretyatko and Korinets and summoned the Russian Ambassador.
Foreign Office Minister Leo Docherty, a Foreign Office minister, said many hundreds of cyber-attacks on legislators and other targets were unsuccessful. However, Star Blizzard had leaked US-UK trade talk papers in 2019 and had hacked the Institute of Statecraft, a Government-linked counter-disinformation operation, in 2018.
The Institute of Statecraft’s documents were used by the Russian State operation Sputnik “News” and by Western outlets such as The Grayzone. Articles assailed UK activities while covering up the disinformation network of the Kremlin.
In May, UK police questioned Kit Klarenberg, a former Sputnik employee now working for The Grayzone and other Western outlets, over his possible involvement in the dissemination of hacked documents.
Klarenberg was the author of articles using material stolen from the Institute for Statecraft and from Richard Dearlove, a former head of the UK’s MI6 intelligence service and another target of the Star Blizzard operation.
UPDATE 0802 GMT:
Ukrainian officials have confirmed that at least one person was killed and six injured in overnight Russian drone and missile attacks across Ukraine.
In their largest missile assault in weeks, the Russians launched 19 cruise missiles, 14 of which were intercepted.
In Pavlohrad in the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-central Ukraine, one person was slain and four wounded — two seriously — by a Russian missile.
The Russians also fired seven Iran-made drones, five of which were downed. An industrial enterprise, 16 private houses, and five cottages were damaged.
In Kharkiv city in the northeast, a 25-year-old man was hospitalizeRud and a 36-year-old woman was treated on site after Russia fired six S-300 missiles.
A children’s playground, residential buildings, an educational institution, and about 20 cars were damaged.
Russia also tried to strike Kyiv with cruise missiles launched from 10 Tu-95MS bombers.
The head of the capital’s military administration, Serhii Popko, said:
Not a single enemy projectile reached the city. All missiles flying in the direction of Kyiv were destroyed by our air defenses on approach to the capital.
There were no casualties or damage from debris.
UPDATE 0752 GMT:
Russia fired seven Iran-made “kamikaze” drones and six S-300 missiles on Ukraine overnight.
The S-300s, launched from Russia’s Belgorod region, were aimed at the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine. Two districts of Kharkiv city were struck, damaging civil infrastructure. One person was treated for injuries at the scene.
The drones tried to land on the Dnipropetrovsk region. No details have been given of how many evaded air defenses.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia State TV is celebrating the blocking of further US aid to Ukraine by Republican legislators.
On Wedneday, the US Senate voted 51-49 against a bill supporting the Biden Administration’s request for $106 billion in budget authorization, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine; assistance for Israel, Taiwan, and allies in the Asia-Pacific region; and funds for border security.
While the measure was largely symbolic — all appropriations bills must be initiated in the House — support for the proposal would have sent a notable signal to the lower Chamber, where hard-right Republicans and Trumpists have blocked any further aid to Ukraine since September.
Commentators on Russia 1 TV celebrated throughout Thursday, hyping their propaganda about the state of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s 21 1/2-month invasion. On the flagship program 60 Minutes, “political commentator” Alexey Anpilogov asserted:
The main question before the West right now: is it worth it to feed this elephant, or rather this pig, that already ate a quarter of the yearly US military budget?…
All of the [media] are heading in the same direction. All of them are suddenly starting to talk about terrible corruption in Ukraine, what a dictator [Ukraine President Volodymyr] Zelenskiy is, how bad Ukraine soldiers are, and how bad everything is.
Dmitry Abzalov, “Director of the Center for Strategic Communications”, described the Republican blockade, prompting host Olga Skabeyeva — nicknamed the “Iron Doll of Putin TV” — to exclaim, “That’s very good!”
Abzalov said with a flourish, “It was said Ukraine’s fate will be decided in December. Here you go: it’s being decided!”
Skabeyeva responded, “As of now, well done, Republicans!”
“Two Birds With One Stone”
The Russian propagandists hailed the bonus of the political downfall of US President Joe Biden.
On his program, Dmitry Drobnitsky noted, “The downfall of Ukraine means the downfall of Biden! Two birds with one stone!”
When Abzalov predicted Biden’s demise, Skabeyeva exulted, “We’ll have no pity for him! To the contrary, we’re ready to hammer those final nails right in!”
Roman Golovanov, a host of the channel of top polemicist Vladimir Solovyov, was even more excited:
This will be a great revelation to other countries. It is even more dangerous to be a friend of the United States than its enemy. In the end, they will abandon you, leaving nothing but the scorched earth on your territory.