Russia Says it Has Thwarted US Cyberattacks on its Infrastructure; Putin Pleads with Global Media at SPIEF to Cover Disintegration of Nuclear Agreements and the Possible Consequences; Facebook Hires Brazen Ultra-Right Nationalist as New Public Policy Manager for Ukraine While Washington Sends $250 Million More in Lethal Aid to Kiev

On the heels of last week’s NYT report that the U.S. Cyber Command had carried out cyber attacks within Russia’s domestic infrastructure, Reuters has reported unnamed representatives of the Russian government as stating that the cyber attacks were recognized and thwarted:

The disclosure was made on Russia’s RIA and TASS news agencies days after the New York Times cited unnamed government sources as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia’s power grid as part of a more aggressive deployment of its cyber tools….

….“We see and note such attempts,” the Russian security source was quoted as saying in response to the report. “However, we manage to neutralize these actions.”

….Foreign intelligence services have stepped up cyber attacks against Russia in recent years and are targeting mainly transport, banking and energy infrastructure, the source told TASS and RIA.

Russia has the engineering and technical savvy to do this as teams from Russia have won the top prize in the IBM- sponsored ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest 6 times in the last 8 years. Here’s a description from 2018 of what contenders are tasked with achieving to win the competition:

ACM ICPC is the premier global programming competition conducted by and for the world’s universities….In the competition, teams of three students tackle eight or more complex, real-world problems. The students are given a problem statement, and must create a solution within a looming five-hour time limit. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner. This year’s World Finals saw 140 teams competing. Now in its 42nd year, ICPC has gathered more than 320,000 students from around the world to compete since its inception.

It seems that several times over the past few years, as U.S.-Russia relations have continued to deteriorate in potentially dangerous ways, Putin has attempted to use whatever bully pulpit he may have at public appearances in front of western and international media to plead for a recognition and discussion of what these conditions may portend. Below is an 8-10 minute video of a meeting Putin had at the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum with representatives of the global media. The video also includes a quote some of you may remember from a few years ago when Putin was expressing his frustration with and warning about reckless escalations by the west and how dangerous they could be – “I don’t know how to get through to you.” My only quibble with what Putin says here is his claim that war has existed throughout humanity. Anthropological studies prove that organized war has only been in the human record for the past 10,000 – 13,000 years, coinciding with agricultural settlement and its attendant complex, hierarchical social structure. In any event, it’s a good video, but you do have to sit through an ad for a new documentary channel at the beginning that runs about a minute.

Speaking of the role of media, whose the worst person Facebook could find to serve as their new public policy manager for Ukraine? Well, Kateryna Kruk, who has publicly and unashamedly cheered on ultra-nationalist groups who espouse white supremacy and anti-Russian views would be a good contender. And, guess what? That’s who Facebook just hired for the job. Ben Norton of the Grayzone Project recently wrote an in-depth report on it.

Kateryna Kruk, who has served as Facebook’s first public policy manager for Ukraine since late May, was an active participant in Ukraine’s 2014 US-backed coup, in which far-right ultra-nationalists violently ousted a democratically elected government accused by the West of getting too close to Russia and replaced it with a pro-NATO one.

During the coup, Kruk volunteered with the fascistic Svoboda party, and defended the extreme-right group from criticism. She is a nationalist hardliner who compares Russian President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, reduces all pro-Russian forces in Ukraine to “terrorists,” and opposes any kind of negotiations with Moscow.

Read the full article here.

Meanwhile, Washington just sent $250 million worth of more deadly weaponry to the Kiev government, including sniper rifles and electronic warfare tools, bringing the total “aid” delivered to the coup government since 2014 to a total value of $1.5 billion.