Reuters reports that Ukraine yesterday renewed its warning that it saw signs of renewed cyberattacks against its banks, its defense sector, and government websites. The EU's Cyber Rapid Response Team has been activated and will deploy to Ukraine. The move, POLITICO says, has been welcomed by Kyiv. Activation was a joint decision of the six states that contribute to the Team: Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania. POLITICO also reports that the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) are particularly sensitive to, and alert for, signs of Russian cyber operations spilling over against them.
The high-level diplomacy France believed it had arranged between Russia and the US is off. Moscow was ambivalent about a Putin-Biden summit, indicating to French President Macron that it was willing in principle to hold such talks, and then, as TASS was authorized to disclose, moved such talks to the realm of possibility, but the US isn't playing. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called off this week's meeting with his Russian counterpart, explaining that Russia's escalation makes the meeting pointless. Newsweek quotes the Secretary as saying, "Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy," the talks, which had been planned for Thursday, would be pointless.
Western sanctions have been quick and clear, but also graduated and incremental. Germany's refusal to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a move that blocks a substantial increase in Russian sales of natural gas to Europe, was the first and most consequential of the sanctions imposed as the week began. Other sanctions have aimed to reduce Russian access to global financial and capital markets. The Telegraph reports that Britain has imposed what Prime Minister Johnson describes as the "first barrage" in its own sanctions program, singling out five banks and three "high-net-worth individuals."
The EU has, according to the AP, sanctioned the three-hundred-fifty-one members of the Duma who voted for recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk, and also twenty-seven other Russian institutions and individuals from the defense and banking sectors.
The US imposed further sanctions beyond those already imposed Monday that prohibited US persons from doing business with the two Ukrainian provinces Russia is seeking to detach. The newest measures are designed to punish Russian oligarchs and impede Moscow's ability to sell sovereign debt. Administration officials say they're holding more (and more severe) sanctions in reserve. Bloomberg quotes a US Treasury Department source as calling the US sanctions "incremental," and EU members who moderated the sanctions Europe imposed described their approach as "proportionate."
Cyber operations against Western targets are considered likely, the Wall Street Journal notes, and policymakers and the security industry advise businesses to take prudent steps to protect themselves. Moody's Investors Service has taken a look at the cyber implications of the crisis, which it sees as central to assessing credit quality. Its analysts have concluded that attacks on critical infrastructure are a high risk, in terms of consequence, vulnerability, and likelihood. "Critical infrastructure is a likely target of cyberattacks amid ongoing Russia–Ukraine tensions for two reasons. First, the Russian government has a history of launching cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, according to a wide spectrum of cybersecurity experts; and second, these types of attacks are typically more damaging for a country than are attacks on other targets."
The CyberWire's continuing coverage of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine may be found here.