There have been no striking developments in reporting on the cyber aspects of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine since Microsoft's descriptions of Actinium's cyberespionage campaign, but governments around the world remain on alert for a resumption of cyber war that could spill over outside the theater of operations. Diplomacy has taken center stage, but there are interesting signs of alt-coin remittances funding Ukrainian equipment, a prospective resistance, and ongoing hacktivism.
French President Macron is in Kyiv today for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Zelenskyy. He left Moscow yesterday, the AP reports, saying that he'd received assurances from Russia's President Putin that Russia would neither "escalate" the conflict nor station troops permanently in Belarus. President Macron reposes some hope in quiet diplomacy as opposed to the public exchange of notes Russia has so far sought.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, shortly before meeting US President Biden yesterday, that NATO's response to Russian aggression would be "united and decisive." He told the Washington Post that Germany's commitment to the Atlantic Alliance, and to support of Ukraine, shouldn't be doubted. President Biden said that the Nord Stream II pipeline wouldn't be permitted to go through if Russia moved on Ukraine, the New York Times reports. Chancellor Scholz suggested that Nord Stream II could indeed be held at risk, but he counseled more strategic ambiguity over the pipeline. The sanctions under preparation, of which an interruption of Nord Stream II would be a part, are expected to impose severe, painful costs on Russia's economy and society should they be imposed. OpenDemocracy has a summary of their probable effect.
Ukrainian preparation for defense against a Russian invasion have to some extent been crowdfunded. The blockchain analysis and cryptocurrency compliance firm Elliptic says that alt-coin contributions to Ukrainian groups, official or unofficial, rose by 900% in 2021, reaching a total of $500,000 for the year, and continuing into 2022. Some of the contributions have gone to hacktivist groups like the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance. Elliptic notes that the donations have been going on at a small level since Russia's 2014 seizure of Ukraine, increasing dramatically with rising tension over the Donbas.
The CyberWire's continuing coverage of the crisis in Ukraine may be found here.