Ukraine at D+251: Managing expectations and defining "military" down.
N2K logoNov 2, 2022

Managing expectations in the hybrid war, the Wagner Group suggests that an advance of one or hundred meters a day is a reasonable norm in modern war. (It would have been the norm on the Western Front in 1916.) A Killnet DDoS attack against the US Treasury fizzled.

Ukraine at D+251: Managing expectations and defining "military" down.

Ukraine continues special operations in Russian rear areas as it also works to restore water and electricity to cities damaged by Russian strikes. The Washington Post reports that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu continues to assert that water, power, and other civilian infrastructure in fact are military targets, since their disruption or destruction has an effect on Ukrainian combat power. “With precision-guided strikes, we continue to effectively hit military infrastructure facilities, as well as facilities that affect the reduction of Ukraine’s military potential,” he said. It's an expansive interpretation of what constitutes a military target. He also claimed that Russia was taking all possible steps to avoid civilian casualties, but few outside observers see any sign of such concern.

Mr. Shoigu also described the partial mobilization as complete, its problems now solved, with 300,000 troops having been added to Russia's end strength. Only 87,000 of these, however, have been sent to the front. The European Union, meanwhile, charges Russia with targeting ethnic minorities in the recent call-up, with Crimean Tatars being particularly heavily and disproportionately conscripted.

The Wagner Group manages expectations.

Today's morning update from the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) described some public comments from the Wagner Group's boss which offer lowball expectations concerning rates of advance. The remarks strike the MoD as designed for domestic consumption. "The owner of the Russian Wagner Group private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stated on 23 October that Wagner forces were making advances of 100-200m per day, which he claimed was ‘normal in modern warfare’. According to their military doctrine, Russian forces plan to advance 30km or more per day in most conditions. In February, Russian forces planned to make a 1000km advance through Ukraine within a month. In September, Ukrainian forces achieved advances of over 20km per day. In the last two months, Prigozhin has abandoned any pretence that he is not associated with Wagner and has been more explicit in his public statements. He is likely trying to burnish his credibility within the stressed Russian national security system."

Implications of Russia's import of Iranian drones.

Russia's continued and growing reliance on Iranian-produced drones is seen by the US as a sign of Russia's logistical weakness and diplomatic isolation. "Iran has provided Russia with UAVs, which we anticipate they'll likely seek more of those," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Ryder said yesterday. "I think it does speak to the state of Russia's munitions capability," he added. "We've said before that we assess that they continue to experience supply shortages when it comes to munitions — particularly guided munitions." And the trade also "says a lot about the kind of company they keep and where they stand in the world right now in terms of isolation."

Russia will resume participation in the Black Sea grain shipment accord.

Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty reports that Russian President Putin has informed his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that, before he agreed to resume participation in the grain-shipment agreement, he wanted "real assurances" that Ukraine was not abusing humanitarian corridors through the Black Sea for military purposes. The suspension has now ended: Russia announced this morning that it would resume participation now that it had received a written assurance from the Ukrainian government that Ukraine had no intention of exploiting the grain corridors for military purposes.

Killnet attempted DDoS against the US Treasury.

Reuters reports that in September the KillNet gang attempted a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the US Department of the Treasury. The attempt was unsuccessful, Treasury says. The Department described the attack as "pretty low-level DDoS activity targeting Treasury's critical infrastructure nodes."

Raccoon Stealer and the war in Ukraine.

It's known that the US has indicted Mark Sokolovsky on charges that allege he was one of the principals behind the Raccoon Stealer malware-as-a-service operation, and that he was arrested by Dutch police on a US warrant, but what was he doing in the Netherlands? Apparently bugging out of Ukraine. A story in MarketWatch says that, shortly after the Russian invasion, Mr. Sokolovsky "climbed into a Porsche Cayenne with his girlfriend to get away from the fighting." The Kharkiv native drove through Poland and Germany and the police in the Netherlands picked him up on an FBI tip.

Raccoon Stealer, formerly a big criminal enterprise, has gone into occultation. MarketWatch quotes their farewell message: “Unfortunately, due to the ‘special operation,’ we will have to close our Raccoon Stealer project. Our team members who were responsible for critical components of the product are no longer with us. Thank you for this experience and time, for every day, unfortunately everything, sooner or later, the end of the world comes to everyone.”