President Putin doubles down on angry disinformation during Victory Day observances.
Ukraine at D+439: Drone strikes and disinformation.
Russian President Putin used the occasion of Moscow's scaled-down Victory Day celebration to claim that Russia's war against Ukraine is in fact a defensive war, that the real aggressor is the West, acting through Ukrainian terrorist puppets. "A real war has been unleashed against our homeland," the Telegraph quotes him as saying. "We have repulsed international terrorism, we will protect the inhabitants of Donbas, we will ensure our security."
Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian cities continued, with most of the inbound weapons shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. But four more civilians were killed in the bombardment.
Water shortages in the Donetsk People's Republic.
This morning the UK's Ministry of Defence described the collateral damage Russian indirect fire has produced in its own occupied and illegally annexed territories. "On 28 April 2023, the head of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, announced that regional water supplies were dangerously low. Water scarcity has been a growing issue for Russian-occupied Donetsk since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The Siversky-Donets canal which supplies the region remains largely under Ukrainian control but has been frequently contested along its long route. Russian forces have likely been seeking to secure the canal to reduce water scarcity within Donetsk. The Siversky-Donets canal traverses through the town of Chasiv Yar, approximately 6km to the west of Bakhmut. Russia’s heavy use of indirect artillery to support the capture of Bakhmut and surrounding territory has likely inflicted collateral damage to the canal and other regional water infrastructure, undermining Russia’s efforts to remedy the lack of water that its invasion originally created. To compensate for its lack of success in capturing and retaining the canal Russia is likely constructing a water pipeline to mitigate the water shortage in Donetsk City. However, this is highly unlikely to fully compensate for the occupied regions’ reduced access to water." Thus the Russian operations have proven in this respect at least backward-striking.
Recent Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine.
Ukrainska Pravda reports that Russian operators, apparently hacktivist auxiliaries, conducted an unsuccessful cyberattack against E-Queue, Ukraine's system for managing border crossings by commercial trucks. "The system is currently running smoothly. In case of any changes, the drivers and carriers shall be informed swiftly."
In other cyberattack news, CERT-UA warns that the "financially motivated" Russian criminal group UAC-0006 is pushing SmokeLoader malware in a phishing campaign. CERT-UA describes UAC-0006's track record and its customary aims: "A typical malicious intent is to compromise accountants' PCs (which are used to support financial activities, such as access to remote banking systems), steal authentication data (login, password, key/certificate) and create unauthorized payments (in some cases using HVNC bot, directly from the affected computer)." The phishing emails are staged from compromised accounts, and they often misrepresent themselves as billing documents. The payload is carried in an attached zip file.