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Security Technology Cyber CSS Blog

“Sincere about Ulterior Motives”: The Invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s Shapeshifting Relationship with Ransomware Groups

 

A day after Russia’s President Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Conti, a hacker group suspected to be largely based in Russia and known for financially extorting Western companies, published a message in support of Moscow. The hackers threatened to use “all possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures” in retaliation for any “cyberattack or any war activities against Russia”. Soon after, the group sought to dial back this message, claiming not to side with any government.

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Security Defense CSS Blog

Russia’s hypersonic story in Ukraine: “Is this a dagger which I see before me?”

Image courtesy of @mod_russia on Twitter.

What does the reported first battle use of a hypersonic missile mean for the dynamic of Putin’s war in Ukraine? Open-source intelligence sources suggest that the Russian Kinzhal is a propaganda weapon.

On early Saturday March 19, the Russian Ministry of Defence released a video claiming that Russian forces fired a Kinzhal (“dagger” in Russian) missile against a military ammunitions warehouse close to Ukraine’s borders with Romania and Hungary. If this strike really did occur, it would be the first known battle use of a hypersonic weapon. However, the expert community has already pointed to several inconsistences in this Russian story. Furthermore, the use of Kinzhal would not alter the military balance in Russia’s favour. The second alleged launch of Kinzhal, which was supposed to have hit a fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near Mykolaiv on Sunday, was simply announced by defense ministry spokesman at a press conference.

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Security Conflict Peace CSS Blog

CSS Mediation Perspectives: How Ceasefires Affect Conflict Ripeness

Image courtesy of Julian Stallabrass / Wikimedia, Mural from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a non-state actor in Mexico.

Mediation Perspectives is a regular series of blog contributions by the CSS Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

How do ceasefires affect the ripeness of conflict for a negotiated solution? Based on evidence from frozen conflicts in places like Cyprus or Western Sahara, many assume that we need to choose between saving lives immediately or in the future, as ceasefires stop the fighting in the short term but may impede the search for a more sustainable political settlement. However, cases such as the Philippines or the Sudan North-South peace process demonstrate that ceasefires do not automatically create such a trade-off: they can serve crucial roles in stopping the fighting and in reviving or sustaining peace processes that lead to lasting solutions.

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International Relations Security Terrorism Defense CSS Blog

At the Crossroads of Central and South Asia

This week’s featured graphic shows how Afghanistan’s location at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia ensures that its future will affect the dynamics of China-Russia relations in both regions. For more on The Taliban Takeover and China-Russia Relations, read Brian G. Carlson’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.

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Security Defense CSS Blog

Roles within the Fighter Jet Inventories of Germany, France and Spain

This week’s featured graphic shows the roles within the fighter jet inventories of Germany, France and Spain. For more on current developments of European fighter programs, read Amos Dossi and Niklas Masuhr’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.