Ukraine at D-180; Prepare for climbing.


Russia continues airstrikes and artillery fire near the Zaporizhia nuclear facility, with rocket fire hitting the towns of Nikopol, Krivyi Rih and Synelnykovsky. Ukrainian operations against Russian rear areas in Crimea have shaken Russian confidence in the security of this occupied region, reports the Wall Street Journal. HIMARS strikes also hit buildings housing the puppet government of the Russian-occupied province of Donetsk.

Ukraine braces for widespread Russian strikes.

The Washington Post reports that the Russian FSB quickly blamed the assassination of nationalist figure Daria Dugina on Ukrainian special services, attributing the actual attack to a woman who the FSB said was linked to the Azov Battalion (long a particularly heinous target of Russia), and who has since fled to Estonia (an acerbic critic of Russia’s war and a constant target of Russian cyberattacks). The speed of the attribution, the positioning of Dugina’s even more famous father at the scene, the disabled security cameras near the explosion and other aspects of the car bombing drew skepticism and criticism. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the assassination. . The Telegraph points to other implausibilities about the bombing, such as the apparent ease with which the suspected suicide bomber moved in and out of the country. Adding to the confusion is a claim of responsibility on behalf of the “National Republican Army,” a Russian splinter group that may or may not exist.

Rossia 1 present the views of official Russian experts on the special military operation following the assassination of Ms. Dugina. “The time for peace is over,” said one, and therefore no longer Mr. Nice Guy. The interlocutors name three main villains in what they now present as the victimization of Russia: Ukraine (of course), Estonia and the United Kingdom (with the “British royal family” in mind). Russian media observer Julia Davis sees the discussion as a call for greater mobilization and an indirect recognition of the growing challenge posed by manning and equipping the Russian combat forces.

Estonia has refused to respond to Russian requests for information on and extradition of any suspected suicide bombers.

Tomorrow is Ukraine’s Independence Day, and President Zelenskyy has warned Ukrainians to beware of “particularly ugly” Russian attacks in response to Ms Dugina’s assassination. “One of the main tasks of the enemy is to humiliate us Ukrainians, to devalue our abilities, our heroes, to spread despair, fear, to spread conflicts,” the president said. “Therefore, it is important that never, for a single moment, give in to this enemy pressure, not get upset, not show weakness. Many Ukrainian cities are canceling planned Independence Day celebrations.

The bridging operation across the Dnipro aims to reopen a Russian supply route to the Kherson pocket.

This morning’s status report from the British Ministry of Defense describes Russian preparations to build a pontoon bridge over the Dnipro River. “Over the weekend, Russia probably started putting barges in place to build a major pontoon bridge over the Dnipro River, right next to the damaged Antonivsky road bridge. The crossing is the key link between occupied Kherson and the Russia and the east. For several weeks, Russian forces and local civilians have relied on a ferry crossing of the waterway. If Russia completes the improvised bridge, it will almost certainly increase the capacity of the crossing point from to the ferry. A pontoon bridge would likely still be vulnerable to Ukrainian offensive action.” Establishing a pontoon bridge should be a matter of hours, not days, and yes, these bridges are vulnerable to indirect fire. Ukrainian HIMARS strikes continued against the remaining (and damaged) bridge over the Dnipro, reports the Telegraph.

Poland and Ukraine conclude an agreement on cybersecurity.

The Polish and Ukrainian governments have concluded a memorandum of understanding regarding cybersecurity, formalizing cooperation in the fifth area. Ukraine’s SSSCIP describes the goal of the agreement as organizing joint efforts to “repel the enemy in cyberspace”. The statement adds: “The memorandum aims to strengthen the common fight against crime in the digital space, as well as to share experiences and detailed information on cyber incidents. [faster and more effectively]. Janusz Cieszyński, Polish State Secretary for Digital Affairs and Government Plenipotentiary for Cybersecurity, said: “The reason why I am here, signing this important MoU, is to work hand in hand with our Ukrainian partners so that we all know more about the danger we face, learn from each other and become more cyber-resilient. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, said: “The first cyber war in the world is underway. Therefore, joining efforts and exchanging practices is a logical step in this area. With Poland, we not only have a common physical border, but also a common problem in cyberspace, where we suffer the same type of attacks. I am sure that together we will become stronger and more effective.”

Greek natural gas supplier victim of a criminal cyberattack.

Greek natural gas supplier DEFSA revealed over the weekend that it had fallen victim to a ransomware attack. “DESFA suffered a cyberattack on part of its IT infrastructure by cybercriminals who attempted to illegally access electronic data, with a confirmed impact on the availability of certain systems and the possible leak of a number of directories and of files.” BleepingComputer links the incident to Ragnar Locker, a pioneer of double extortion attacks that steal and encrypt data. Ragnar Locker, which claimed responsibility and leaked evidence of compromise on Friday, is a gang that has long been believed to be based in Russia. An attack on a European natural gas distributor during Russia’s war on Ukraine is consistent with a race for Moscow’s interests. The Record reports that DEFSA refused to negotiate with its attackers.

Targeting and trolling.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has credited holiday photos taken by Russian tourists in occupied Ukraine with providing valuable targeting information. “Maybe we’re being too hard on Russian tourists,” the Telegraph quoted the ministry’s Twitter feed. “Sometimes they can be very helpful. Like this man taking photos of Russian air defense positions near Yevpatoria, in occupied Crimea. Thank you, and keep up the good work!” The photo shows a middle-aged man in Speedos posing, obviously deliberately, in front of a Russian missile launcher. The Telegraph explains that these open sources provide targets for Ukrainian forces.

We believe that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is obviously trolling its Russian counterparts. Aerial imagery provides far more timely and accurate target indicators than any Ivan Speedovich selfie. That said, photos of tourists, soldiers and bystanders posted on social media have been an OPSEC headache for Russian forces since the start of the invasion and have probably further contributed to the understanding of the order of battle. Russian than direct targeting. But still, if you have to take a selfie while enjoying the sun and fun, it’s better if there is a SAM TEL in the background. Keep slamming, bros. If order of battle and combat vehicle images are your hobby, well, we hear everyone needs it.

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