Both sides in the dispute over Russian preparation for (and already the limited conduct of) hybrid warfare against Ukraine bring firm lines with them to the talks now underway in Geneva, where US Secretary of State Blinken is meeting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The Guardian reports that Secretary Blinken told his counterpart that the US would reply formally to Russian proposals (that is, the soft ultimatum issued last week) sometime next week, but that certain NATO positions, in particular the right to offer membership to Ukraine and other countries, were not up for negotiation. The Secretary also said that the US was open to a summit between Presidents Biden and Putin.
US President Biden's remarks Wednesday, delivered at a media availability, appeared to suggest that minor incursions into Ukraine might not lead the US to exact as "serious and dear" a price as major incursions would. TheHill summarizes reactions from a variety of sources, none of whom seem to think that the President's statements were either well-considered or helpful. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to respond, tweeting, "We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power."
The US has since then devoted some effort to clearing the matter up. White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement clarifying the US position and seeking to resolve any dangerous ambiguity: "Acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response."
Ukraine has asked another one of the Five Eyes, Australia, for technical assistance to help defend it against cyberattack, the ABC reports, and Australia has said that it stands in solidarity with NATO in support of Ukrainian security.
Security firm Mandiant has outlined the form it expects Russian cyber operations to assume. 'Russia and its allies will conduct cyber espionage, information operations, and disruptive cyber attacks during this crisis. Though cyber espionage is already a regular facet of global activity, as the situation deteriorates, we are likely to see more aggressive information operations and disruptive cyber attacks within and outside of Ukraine."
The US Treasury Department yesterday announced that it was bringing sanctions against four individuals for their role in advancing Russia's influence operations with the objective of "destabilizing" Ukraine. Those sanctioned include two current Members of Ukraine's Parliament, Taras Kozak and Oleh Voloshyn, and two former officials, Volodymyr Oliynyk and Vladimir Sivkovich. Treasury says all four of them were being run by Russia's FSB.
The CyberWire's continuing coverage of the crisis in Ukraine may be found on our site.