I saw this posted about a week or so ago and saved it for eventual use. I can’t remember who posted it, but it resonated with me.
I’m just going to do a quick update tonight because I know everyone is focused on the elections. Or, if not everyone, a lot of you.
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
An important preparatory week for us continues on the eve of diplomatic activities in the second half of November. These are important summits: G20, ASEAN, NATO Parliamentary Assembly and some others. The position of Ukraine must be and will be heard in all parts of the world.
We are also working to continue and expand our grain export initiative. We will add a permanent humanitarian component to grain exports. Together with the advanced and most conscientious states, we will increase aid to those countries and peoples who are particularly suffering from the food crisis.
And the first meetings have already taken place, we already have the first international agreements. In fact, together with our partners, we are starting cooperation, which can become the basis for guaranteeing food security at a new level. It has long been said that global coordination is needed to save the world’s poorest countries from starvation. And we are currently developing such a coordination mechanism. I hope it will be implemented.
Today I met with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and a significant part of our talks was devoted to humanitarian topics. Because the more meaningful our cooperation with partners to overcome various humanitarian problems will be, the less international conflicts and crises will be used by Russia to blackmail the international community.
We separately discussed with Mrs. Thomas-Greenfield our steps within the UN General Assembly and draft resolutions proposed by Ukraine.
It is very important that we talked about how to ensure the access of representatives of the UN and the Red Cross to Ukrainian men and women held in Russian captivity. We use every day and every international opportunity to move closer to the release of all our people from captivity. We remember everyone who is being held captive by the occupiers.
In the information space, there is a certain decrease in the number of news from the front. There are fewer messages than, for example, at the beginning of autumn. But this does not mean that the intensity of the fighting has become less.
The situation is difficult on the entire front. In some areas, brutal positional battles continue, as before, and it is especially difficult – also as before – in the Donetsk region. The activity of the occupiers there remains at an extremely high level – dozens of attacks every day. They suffer extremely large-scale losses, but their order has not changed – to reach the administrative border of the Donetsk region. We do not give up a single centimeter of our land there. And I thank all our heroes who are holding positions in Donbas.
Kherson region. We clearly understand what the enemy is planning, so we act accordingly. Carefully, thoughtfully and in the interests of the liberation of our entire territory. We are reinforcing our positions, ruining Russian logistics, and consistently destroying the potential of the occupiers to keep the south of our country under occupation.
East. Step by step, we are moving towards the return of the Ukrainian flag to all our cities and communities. We are also actively reinforcing the border.
At the same time, work continues to restore normal life in the liberated areas. Only in the past day and only, for example, in two districts of the Kharkiv region, gas and electricity have been restored to more than a thousand households.
Repair work is also ongoing at all the energy facilities damaged by the recent Russian strikes. As of this evening, about 4 million Ukrainians in 14 regions and the city of Kyiv are disconnected from electricity supply. But most of them are disconnected based on stabilization schedules, not on an emergency basis.
I thank all our energy workers, utility workers, regional administrations, local self-governments – everyone who restores the predictability of life to our people even in such conditions.
Today, the government of Ukraine made an important decision that will help get through the winter period. The import of goods needed during the heating season will be exempt from VAT and import duty. This should simplify and reduce the cost of supplying Ukraine with generators, batteries, transformers and other equipment for energy and heat supply.
It is also important that sufficient volumes of gas and coal are being accumulated to provide for Ukrainians.
We clearly understand: turning winter into a weapon is the plan of a terrorist state against our state, as well as against the whole of Europe. But we are doing everything so that this Russian plan also fails, like various previous ones.
And one more thing.
On the Walk of the Brave in Kyiv, we opened a plaque that appeared there first. This is a plaque dedicated to Sean Penn. He was in Ukraine on February 24 and since that day he has been doing everything to help us accumulate international support.
The Walk of the Brave is not just a sign of our gratitude to political, public and cultural leaders who defend freedom together with Ukrainians, but also a reminder to all future generations of our people about what different people, forces and industries united for our victory.
The Walk of the Brave will feature all the leaders who supported Ukraine personally, coming to our land at the crucial time of a full-scale war. When such a leader arrives in Ukraine now, we open his name plaque.
In general, dozens of names will be presented on the Walk of the Brave. To date, in addition to Sean Penn, the following have already been honored: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of Poland Andrzej Duda, President of Latvia Egils Levits, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Janša, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Jarosław Kaczyński.
I thank everyone who helps Ukraine!
Glory to everyone who fights for our state!
Glory to our strong people!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessments of the situations in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia:
KHERSON AXIS/1400 UTC 8 NOV/ Russian troops are reported to be looting civilian homes, food supplies and vehicles. Kherson city is reported to be with limited power and no running water. Suppression of enemy Air Defense (SEAD) strikes continue against Russian SAM sites. pic.twitter.com/qztROwSzEU
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 8, 2022
KHERSON: RU's plans for a new defensive line S of the Dnipro are flawed, and pivot on the assumption they'll be able to break contact and stage an orderly retreat. Neither of these evolutions are likely– RU will have a river to cross and half of the UKR army in hot pursuit. https://t.co/1v2gKlk70j pic.twitter.com/VUWGFLYvGM
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 8, 2022
NUCLEAR ROULETTE/8 NOV/ At the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant, RU security forces continue to threaten operators and staff. Security units conduct unlawful searches, collect data on plant employees & dependents, confiscate cellphones, and illegally conduct random arrests. pic.twitter.com/ajiT46aToG
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 8, 2022
We now know how Russia sweetened the pot to get Iran to provide them with drones, missiles, and rockets. Sky News has the details:
Russia flew €140m in cash and a selection of captured UK and US weapons to Iran in return for dozens of deadly drones for its war in Ukraine, a security source has claimed.
A Russian military aircraft secretly transported the cash and three models of munition – a British NLAW anti-tank missile, a US Javelin anti-tank missile and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile – to an airport in Tehran in the early hours of 20 August, the source told Sky News, speaking on condition of anonymity to share sensitive information.
The weapons had been part of a shipment of UK and US military equipment intended for the Ukrainian military that “fell into Russian hands”, according to the source.
The source said they could give Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) the ability to study Western technology and potentially copy it.
“They will probably be reverse-engineered and used in future wars,” the source said.
For its part, Iran supplied Russia with more than 160 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including 100 Shahed-136 drones, the source claimed. These have been nicknamed “suicide drones” because they explode on impact.
The source alleged that a further drone deal worth €200m (£174m) had been agreed between Tehran and Moscow in the past few days.
“That means there will be another big supply of UAVs from Iran soon,” the source said.
The Iranian and Russian governments were approached for a response to the allegations.
More at the link!
Speaking of the IRGC and the Russians, RUSI, which is sort of the British equivalent to the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), RAND, and/or the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), released a new report today on the air way above Ukraine. This part caught my attention (emphasis mine):
The second significant consequence of Russia’s ineffective (albeit very destructive) initial standoff missile campaigns and limited remaining stockpiles was a deal with Iran to supply large numbers of Shahed-136 loitering munitions and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) support to teach Russian units to assemble and use them. The first Shahed-136 (Russian name, ‘Geran-2’) attacks were recorded by Ukrainian air defenders in mid-September, with attacks against Odesa alongside Iranian-supplied armed Mohajer-6 UAVs.142 An IRGC training group protected by an FSB security detail was identified and monitored by Ukrainian intelligence services, and destroyed with a precision artillery strike in Kherson around this time.143 Unfortunately this did not end the Russian acceptance and ramp-up process for large-scale Shahed-136 use as a longrange strike weapon.
According to The Telegraph, the IRGC has been busy:
An Iranian hit squad operating in London has been deployed to murder two British journalists working for a Farsi-language television station based in the UK.
Counter-terrorism officers with the Metropolitan Police have identified “lethal threats to British citizens on British soil”, the television channel Iran International said on Monday.
In a statement, the channel accused the hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of targeting two of its prominent British-Iranian journalists as part of a “significant and dangerous escalation” of Tehran’s “state-sponsored campaign” of intimidation.
The journalists have not been identified for security reasons. It is understood they have now been given round-the-clock protection.
Scotland Yard has declined to comment on counter-terrorism operations but The Telegraph understands that investigations were escalated after a “hostile Iranain surveillance team” was spotted last week outside the homes and offices of the television channel’s senior journalists.
Counter-terrorism police then notified the journalists of “the credible threats to life”.
Iran International said the regime’s rhetoric aimed against the channel had been ratcheted up after the protest movement began.
Last month, the Islamic Republic warned that Iran International would “pay the price” for carrying footage of the demonstrations. A hardliner cleric had also called on the Iranian government to “use capabilities in the international arena” to tackle the channel, which has Saudi funding.
‘Shocked and deeply concerned’
In its statement, the channel said: “Iran International, the independent UK-based Farsi-language news channel, is shocked and deeply concerned by the credible threats to life its journalists have received from the IRGC.
“Two of our British-Iranian journalists have, in recent days, been notified of an increase in the threats to them. The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families. Other members of our staff have also been informed directly by the Metropolitan Police of separate threats.”
The channel said that its journalists were subjected to abuse routinely on social media but “these threats to life… mark a significant and dangerous escalation of a state-sponsored campaign to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad”.
The channel added: “The Islamic Republic of Iran, and specifically the IRGC cannot be allowed to export their pernicious media crackdown to the UK. The IRGC cannot be allowed to act abroad with impunity.
“We hope that the UK Government, international governments and other organisations will join us in condemning these horrific threats and continue to highlight the importance of media freedom.
“We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police for their considerable efforts in keeping journalists safe.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “We do not comment on matters of protective security in relation to any specific individuals. We would advise anyone with concerns over their safety to contact police so that officers can assess the situation and offer any safety and security advice as and where necessary.”
More at the link!
And an election related item. The NY Times reports that, as we knew they would, the Russians have reactivated their online information warfare operations to interfere in the midterm elections:
The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol.
The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine’s president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda.
The fusion of political concerns was no coincidence.
The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to the cybersecurity group Recorded Future.
It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.
“It’s clear they are trying to get them to cut off aid and money to Ukraine,” said Alex Plitsas, a former Army soldier and Pentagon information operations official now with Providence Consulting Group, a business technology company.
The campaign — using accounts that pose as enraged Americans like Nora Berka — have added fuel to the most divisive political and cultural issues in the country today.
It has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most contested races, including the Senate seats up for grabs in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania, calculating that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort.
The campaigns show not only how vulnerable the American political system remains to foreign manipulation but also how purveyors of disinformation have evolved and adapted to efforts by the major social media platforms to remove or play down false or deceptive content.
Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an alert warning of the threat of disinformation spread by “dark web media channels, online journals, messaging applications, spoofed websites, emails, text messages and fake online personas.” The disinformation could include claims that voting data or results had been hacked or compromised.
The agencies urged people not to like, discuss or share posts online from unknown or distrustful sources. They did not identify specific efforts, but social media platforms and researchers who track disinformation have recently uncovered a variety of campaigns by Russia, China and Iran.
Recorded Future and two other social media research companies, Graphika and Mandiant, found a number of Russian campaigns that have turned to Gab, Parler, Getter and other newer platforms that pride themselves on creating unmoderated spaces in the name of free speech.
These are much smaller campaigns than those in the 2016 election, where inauthentic accounts reached millions of voters across the political spectrum on Facebook and other major platforms. The efforts are no less pernicious, though, in reaching impressionable users who can help accomplish Russian objectives, researchers said.
“The audiences are much, much smaller than on your other traditional social media networks,” said Brian Liston, a senior intelligence analyst with Recorded Future who identified the Nora Berka account. “But you can engage the audiences in much more targeted influence ops because those who are on these platforms are generally U.S. conservatives who are maybe more accepting of conspiratorial claims.”
Many of the accounts the researchers identified were previously used by a news outlet calling itself the Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has previously linked the news outlet to the Russian information campaigns centered around the Internet Research Agency.
The network appears to have since disbanded, and many of the social media accounts associated with it went dormant after being publicly identified around the 2020 election. The accounts started becoming active again in August and September, called to action like sleeper cells.
Much more at the link!
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
A flashback to the past: this is a video of the first flight of the AN-225 Mriya, its first takeoff, and landing.
And here's a glimpse into the future: construction work has begun, and "Mriya" ("Dream") will be rebuilt!
We told that no one can destroy the Ukrainian Dream! pic.twitter.com/QTJdw0dl0m
— Patron (@PatronDsns) November 8, 2022
And a new video from Patron’s official TikTok!
The caption machine translates as:
I love moments like this! #PatrontheDog #PatronDSNS