Daily review: OSINT does not confirm reported Russian withdrawal, Ukraine hit by cyberattack, new coup plot

Ukraine news


Daily review

Catch up with the latest news from Ukraine in our Daily Review. Our patrons get this review as a newsletter delivered to their inbox; become one of them here.

Past 24 hours in the war zone

  • Russian proxies launch 6 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors, incl heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk.
  • 2 Ukrainian soldiers wounded; one seriously
  • Between evenings of February 11-13, OSCE SMM recorded 261 violations, incl 50 explosions in Donetsk Oblast, 114 violations, incl 24 explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
  • OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau to meet with RF Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Feb 15.

Ukraine news flash

  • Other European officials to visit Ukraine after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: Italian FM Luigi Di Maio on Feb 15, Marshal of Polish Senate Tomasz Grodzki on Feb 16, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Feb 17-18.
  • Canada to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, as well as a $500-million loan.
  • National Police of Ukraine put on high alert from February 14 to 19, declares Head of National Police Ihor Klymenko
    Ukraine’s refusal to join NATO would strengthen negotiations on security guarantees, declares Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Russian Duma urges Putin to recognize Donbas puppet statelets. Is the Minsk peace deal dead?

The Russian Duma has approved an appeal to President Putin, urging to recognize Russia’s puppet statelets in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas as independent states. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Rada appeals to international organizations to oppose such a recognition, and Ukrainian politicians say this would mean Russia’s exit from the Minsk peace deal.

Russian Duma urges Putin to recognize Donbas puppet statelets. Is the Minsk peace deal dead?

Scholz in Moscow agrees to discuss bills on “special status” of Donbas with Russia

Germany and Russia have agreed to discuss bills on the “special status” for the non-government-controlled parts of the Donbas region in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for a peace settlement in eastern Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the agreement at a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Russian capital of Moscow on Feb. 15, the day after his visit to Ukraine. Speaking at a press briefing after his talks with Putin, the German chancellor added that the bills on the constitutional reform in Ukraine, as well as those on the “Steinmeier formula” (a peace plan for eastern Ukraine involving the holding of local elections in Russia-occupied districts) would also be discussed in the TCG.

Sources of Kyiv Independent say France and Germany asked Zelenskyy to comply with Russian spin on Minsk

Macron asked Zelensky to conduct direct talks with the militants, to which Zelensky said no. And German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz, who traveled to Kyiv on Feb. 14, tried to talk Zelensky into granting Russian-occupied regions autonomy, which is one of the key demands made by the Kremlin, Kyiv Indepdent reports.

Russia’s MoD reports partial troop withdrawal that is unconfirmed by OSINT & satellite images

The Ministry of Defense of Russia announced a partial troop withdrawal, which by some was interpreted as signs of “deescalation,” However, OSINT experts disagree with such an assessment.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense reports partial troop withdrawal. OSINT experts disagree

Ukrainian state websites, banks suffer from cyberattack

In the afternoon of 15 February, Ukraine suffered from a cyberattack. The websites of the Ministry of Defense mil.gov.ua and Armed Forces zsu.gov.ua; are down; problems were reported with state banks Oschadbank & Privatbank. The attack was confirmed by the Center for Strategic Communications, that said that Privatbank and Oschadbank are under a DDoS attack.

Government sources of Ukrayinska Pravda told the media that the government websites are also DdoS’ed This is unlike the supply chain Jan 14 attack and that the attack is “very strong” and unprecedented.

A report by Netblocks shows that the DDoS attack on Privatbank was relatively short-lived. Bank services are said to now resume.

Ukraine cyberattack

After the last big cyberattack of 14 January, which took down multiple state websites & services, we talked to Ukrainian cyber experts. They said Ukraine is woefully unprepared for future attacks, and it is a systemic problem.

57% of Ukrainians ready to resist Russian invasion

A new KMIS poll from 5-13 February finds that a total of 57.5% of adult Ukrainians will resist Russian invasion:

  • 37.3% will take up arms
  • 25% will participate in other forms of resistance
  • 12.4% would leave to a safer region
  • 7.5% would leave country

Lviv diggers demonstrate effectiveness of underground Poltva River as bomb shelter

The Poltva River in the west-Ukrainian city of Lviv has finally surfaced after decades of being confined to underground tunnels: local diggers suggest using it as a bomb shelter to defend against a possible Russian attack.

Lviv diggers demonstrate effectiveness of underground Poltva River as bomb shelter

US intel says ex-Ukrainian MP living in Crimea possible leader for Moscow’s coup in Ukraine

Financial Times reports that the US has shared intelligence that Moscow could be tapping Oleg Tsaryov to lead its coup plot in Ukraine. Tsaryov, a Ukrainian pro-Russian politician who headed attempt at a “Novorossiya parliament” and now lives in Crimea, said there is “obviously virtually no chance” he could be such a candidate.

How plausible is this news? Here is a thread explaining.

“My legs were black and blue from beatings” – Ukrainian hostage recalls Donbas militants’ torture

There are an estimated 241 Ukrainian hostages held by Russian-backed militants in the Donbas. Because of their pro-Ukrainian position, they are grotesquely tortured in order to extract confessions of “espionage,” “state treason,” “sabotage,” and “terrorism.” The Media Initiative of Human Rights has gathered the stories of those who were fortunate enough to be released in a hostage exchange.

“My legs were black and blue from beatings” – Ukrainian hostage recalls Donbas militants’ torture

Russian propaganda now shows Ukraine as “enslaved brother,” invasion as “just reclamation”

Russian propaganda rhetoric has shifted to portraying Ukraine as a “brotherly nation enslaved by the West” and a possible Russian invasion as a just reclamation of Russia’s sphere of influence. This leaves no room for compromise with Russia; only military guarantees for Ukraine can stop Russia’s war.

Russian propaganda now shows Ukraine as “enslaved brother,” invasion as “just reclamation”


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