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Situation update

Despite the conflicting reports of a partial Russian withdrawal, tensions have risen over the past several days. A resolution to the situation remains elusive as the Kremlin puts out mixed signals regarding its intentions. 

Information Space

  • The Russian Duma (lower house) voted to recognize the Ukrainian separatist republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR), calling on President Putin to sign the resolution into law. Ukraine has stated that it would treat any recognition of the DPR or LPR by Russia as notice of its withdrawal from the Minsk agreements, opening the possibility of a renewed offensive to reclaim territory in eastern Ukraine.
  • On 15 February, the Russian Defense Ministry shared videos purporting to show tanks withdrawing with a spokesperson declaring that "Western war propaganda failed."
  • Russian media reports that authorities thwarted a "terror attack" in the center of separatist-held Luhansk.
  • On 15 February, during talks between President Putin and Chancellor Sholz, Putin claimed that "...what is happening today in Donbas is genocide," a possible indication that he will move forward recognizing the DPR and LPR.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) released a statement on 14 February about the increased intensity of a massive disinformation campaign led by Russian operatives to destabilize the country. Last week, SSU officials shut down two bot farms with a shared capacity of 18,000 fake accounts it said were used to spread false information and bomb threats on social media.

Diplomatic Space

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in the midst of shuttling between Ukraine and Russia in a last-ditch effort. On Monday, Scholz was in Kyiv where he and President Zelensky both downplayed the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO—Russia's main concern. Today, Chancellor Scholz is meeting with President Putin.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set to hold talks today on the back of the purported withdrawal of some Russian forces following the conclusion of exercises.
  • Over the weekend, a flurry of diplomatic activity failed to yield any positive results. Talks between President Biden and Putin did not bear fruit, the Russian Foreign Minister described his chat with his British counterpart as a talk between “the mute with the deaf,” and the Normandy Four (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France) dialogue could not even agree on definitions for a symbolic joint statement. 

Cyber Space

  • On 15 February, a sweeping DDoS cyberattack was reported on Ukraine's Privatbank and Oschadbank, as well as on the Ministry of Defense and the website of the Armed Forces.
  • On 11 February, CISA and FBI published “Shields Up”—a webpage to prepare U.S. organizations for the increase in targeted Russian cyberattacks that may accompany a ground invasion of Ukraine.

Advice

  • Global Guardian recommends against non-essential travel to Ukraine.
  • Expats should consider leaving Ukraine while commercial flights remain available.
  • Those who remain in-country should prepare emergency supplies. 
  • Secure your assets and prepare your emergency evacuation plan.

Support

Our team can respond immediately with the following capabilities:  

  • Bespoke intelligence reports and briefings 
  • Armed or unarmed security personnel 
  • Satellite communications (phone and wireless internet)
  • Emergency medical and tele-medical support
  • Logistical support (food, water, generators, fuel)
  • Evacuation by ground, air, or sea

Click below to contact Global Guardian's 24/7 Operations Center or call us directly at +1 (703) 566-9463.


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