There are confirmed Russian attacks in progress in some twenty Ukrainian cities, with Russian forces moving in from the Russian east, the Belarusian north, and the Black Sea south.
Fighting is reported in and around the capital, Kyiv, as Russia seeks the replacement of the Ukrainian government—Kyiv would be a decapitation objective. Ukrainian regulars are resisting Russian heavy forces (that is, mechanized forces equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles), and there are reports of irregular resistance as well, which the Ukrainian government has encouraged. Foreign Policy has an account of such resistance in the Donbas city of Kharkiv.
Some of the Russian forces engaged in the invasion have staged through and attacked from Belarusian territory. There are no credible reports of Belarusian troops proper involved in the invasion, but they're apparently available should their participation become necessary or desirable. Belarusian President Lukashenka said yesterday that they would fight if Russia needed them.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has offered to negotiate with Ukraine, the New York Times reports. All Ukraine needs to do is stop resisting the Russian special military operation. Thus the price of negotiation is surrender.
Hybrid aggression and hybrid defense.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine was preceded by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that included wiper malware ("HermeticWiper"), and Russia has itself begun to experience some retaliatory DDoS attacks, the Record reports. Who’s responsible is unknown, but neither hacktivism nor state-directed action can be ruled out. "The perpetrators of these attacks remain unknown," the Record says, "but the sudden and senseless breakout of the Russo-Ukrainian armed conflict this week has also drawn a lot of sympathy on the side of the Ukrainian side, including from the Anonymous hacktivist group, which called on its members to attack Russian government targets." Computing notes that someone, probably the Ukrainian government, has invited hacktivists to take action against Russia.
Governments generally sympathetic to Ukraine have raised their own level of alert for Russian cyberattack. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency continues to update its Shields Up advisory. NBC News reported yesterday that President Biden had been presented with options for cyber operations against Russian infrastructure, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was quick to tweet a denial.
New sanctions against Russia (and Belarus).
The EU is today working out the sanctions it will apply to Russia as a partial response to that country's aggression in Ukraine, Reuters reports. The Kyiv Independent tweeted that the Council of Europe has suspended Russia's right of representation.
British Prime Minister Johnson yesterday announced new sanctions against Russia. These include, the Telegraph reports, "asset freezes on all major Russian banks; legislation to prohibit Russian companies from raising finance on UK markets; sanctions against more than 100 individuals, entities and their subsidiaries; trade and export bans on a wide range of tech equipment; an imminent ban on the Russian airline Aeroflot; and an intention to shut off Russia's access to the SWIFT payment system." That last is an "intention"—Russia for now at least retains access to SWIFT.
The additional sanctions the US announced yesterday continued Washington's policy of gradual incrementalism. None of them are regarded as a knock-out blow against the Russian economy, but they will impose certain costs on Moscow. A White House factsheet enumerated them. They restrict Russian banks' access to capital, and they impose more stringent controls on trade with Russia and Belarus. It's noteworthy that sanctions are being leveled against Belarus as well as Russia. The measures stopped short of cutting off Russia's access to the SWIFT international bank transfer system, a move many observers thought would be among the more punitive measures that might be taken. White House sources indicated that Russian access to SWIFT was permitted to continue at the request of US allies. Ukraine understandably would like to see the US and its NATO allies doing much more. President Zelenskyy said yesterday, "This morning we are defending our state alone. Like yesterday, the world's most powerful forces are watching from afar. Did yesterday's sanctions convince Russia? We hear in our sky and see on our earth that this was not enough."
The CyberWire's continuing coverage of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine may be found here.