Ukraine at D+393: An operational pause.
N2K logoMar 24, 2023

Russian attacks on military targets stall (but strikes against civilians continue) as Ukraine says its counteroffensive will begin "very soon."

Ukraine at D+393: An operational pause.

Ukrainian authorities claim, Al Jazeera reports, that the Russian attacks around Bakhmut have stalled. And, according to the Guardian, the senior Ukrainian ground forces commander, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyihas, said that Ukraine will begin its long-expected offensive "very soon."

The UK's Ministry of Defence notes Russia's practice of training troops in Belarus. "As of mid-March 2023, Russia had likely redeployed at least 1,000 troops who had been training at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground in south-western Belarus. Although no new rotation of troops has been noted, Russia has highly likely left the tented camp in place, suggesting it is considering continuing the training programme. The fact Russia has resorted to training its personnel under the much less-experienced Belarusian army highlights how Russia’s ‘special military operation’ has severely dislocated the Russian military’s training system – instructors have largely been deployed in Ukraine. Russia likely also views Belarus’s continued indirect support to the operation as important political messaging."

Russian electronic warfare units show the ability to locate Starlink terminals.

Starlink terminals used by Ukrainian forces are proving increasingly vulnerable to focused application of traditional electronic warfare by Russian forces. Defense One reports that Ukrainian units employing the system are being subjected to both jamming and geolocation by Russian electronic warfare units.

Shields remain up.

Despite the failure of major Russian cyberattacks to work damage to Western infrastructure, Utility Dive reports, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) remains on guard against the possibility of Russian reprisals in the form of cyber offensives against the nuclear power sector in particular. CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales said Wednesday that a combination of effective defense, deterrence, and decisions by the Russian government itself have all contributed to the lack of effect on critical infrastructure.  “Recognizing that an invasion was likely, we were getting industry ready for potential attacks here at home. We have not seen that," Wales said. "We have not seen successful attacks on the United States from Russia, from the Russian government. And I think that is a credit to the work of both government and industry partnering together to make sure that those are much harder to achieve.”

Hacktivist auxiliaries have certainly been active in the Russian interest, but only at the proverbial nuisance levels. Criminal activity by Russian gangs, which might be characterized as privateering, given the toleration and protection it receives from Moscow, has continued at a high level, particularly with respect to ransomware attacks against poorly protected organizations. Security Boulevard has an account of what the deception specialists Lupovis learned from decoys it built and emplaced to attract a range of Russian threat actors. The privateers showed up in a big way.