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The FSB has been preparing to seize Ukraine for years, but Russia has lost the cyber war

The UN is urging an agreement over the Zaporizhzhia NPP, and the FSB has been preparing an attack on Ukraine for years. Photo: The Page collage

The UN is urging an agreement over the Zaporizhzhia NPP, and the FSB has been preparing an attack on Ukraine for years. Photo: The Page collage

The UN has urged a halt to hostilities near the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the U.S. has proven that the FSB has been preparing to seize Ukraine for years, and the British intelligence claims that Russia has lost the information war.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian diplomats want to buy the land plot in Australia previously rented by Russia, which is being taken from the Kremlin’s representatives as they failed to observe the country’s laws.

The Page offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the August 15–19 business week.

The UN urges a peace deal around the Zaporizhzhia NPP

Zelensky met with Erdoğan and Guterres in Lviv. Photo: OP

Zelensky met with Erdoğan and Guterres in Lviv. Photo: OP

On Thursday, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres met with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv and afterwards made a number of statements about the Zaporizhzhia NPP, BBC writes.

Thus, Erdoğan said that the world doesn't want "another Chornobyl". For his part, the UN Secretary-General, UN António Guterres, said he was "gravely concerned" about the situation at the plant:

Quote"We must tell it like it is — any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia [NPP] is suicide."

Guterres insists that an agreement is urgently needed to re-establish the plant’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is accusing Russia of "nuclear blackmail" over the activities of Russian troops at the plant. At the press conference, he repeated his demands that Russia immediately withdraw its forces and stop shelling from the nuclear power plant.

Employees of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have said they are "powerless" in the face of "human irresponsibility and madness".

Zelenskyy also stated he and Guterres had agreed the parameters of a possible visit to the plant by a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He said that the visit should be done legally via territory free from the occupiers.

The FSB has been preparing to seize Ukraine for years

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The Washington Post published a months-long study of the intelligence war in Ukraine and made a number of key conclusions:

1. FSB agents were deeply involved in the Kremlin’s failed war plan, assuring officials in Moscow that Ukraine’s government would fall quickly and deploying operatives to install a puppet regime.

The FSB branch, known as the Department of Operational Information, has for years carried out clandestine operations to penetrate Ukraine’s institutions. Despite its intense focus on Ukraine, the FSB either failed to grasp how fiercely Ukraine would resist, or did understand but couldn’t convey such inconvenient information to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

2. FSB officers were so confident they would seize the levers of power in Kyiv that they spent the final days before the war arranging accommodations in the capital.

Days before Russian forces crossed into Ukraine, FSB informants were told to vacate the capital but leave behind keys to their residences for arriving Russian operatives.

3. The FSB’s Ukraine department underwent a major expansion in the period leading up to the invasion.

The department surged in size from about 30 officers in 2019 to as many as 160 on the eve of the Ukraine invasion. FSB teams were assigned regions of Ukraine and networks of sleeper agents inside the country.

4. The FSB worked closely with prominent collaborators and lined up at least two pro-Russian governments-in-waiting.

The FSB’s main allies included Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Medvedchuk. Yanukovych was at the center of a group that assembled in Belarus in early March. A second group involving former members of Yanukovych’s party gathered in territory in southern Ukraine that was seized early in the war by Russian forces.

5. Despite repeated failures, FSB leaders remain in their positions and the agency has regrouped, putting officers on three-month rotations in regions occupied by Russian forces.

In particular, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov and the leader of its Ukraine directorate, Sergey Beseda, remain in their positions.

Russia has lost the information war to Ukraine and the West

Cyber attacks and propaganda did not help Putin. Photo: Getty Images

Cyber attacks and propaganda did not help Putin. Photo: Getty Images

Russia has lost the information war in the West, said head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service Jeremy Fleming, as cited by The Independence.

However the Kremlin’s "clumsy" cyber and propaganda war, although ineffective in the West, could risk blunting international outrage over Russia’s invasion, Fleming warned.

Ukraine has also fought in the information war, he said, writing:

Quote"Both sides know that they are engaged in a struggle for influence and opinion far beyond the immediate battlefield. It is a very modern digital and cyber war, as much as it is a brutal and destructive physical one."

Russia waged its cyberwar before 24 February. But Putin’s plans have fallen short amid Russia’s irresponsible and indiscriminate use of destructive cyber tools, Fleming explained.

Quote"The month prior to the start of the invasion, Russia’s military intelligence deployed WhisperGate malware to destroy and deface Ukrainian government systems," he said.

Less than an hour before Russia invaded Ukraine, it targeted the country’s ViaSat satellite networks in an attack that spilled over into neighboring countries.

But Ukraine has proved itself to be an extremely effective cyber defender with a digital fortress it has painstakingly built since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Quote"So far, Putin has comprehensively lost the information war in Ukraine and in the West. Although that’s cause for celebration, we should not underestimate how Russian disinformation is playing out elsewhere in the world," Fleming said.

Ukraine wants to snap up the plot of land occupied by the Russian embassy in Australia

The ambassador to Australia wants to snap up the plot from the Russians. Photo: Wikipedia

The ambassador to Australia wants to snap up the plot from the Russians. Photo: Wikipedia

Ukraine is looking to snap up a plot of land in Canberra, Australia, after the National Capital Authority (NCA) terminated the Russian embassy’s lease, the Guardian writes.

The NCA said this week it canceled the lease because of its "use it or lose it" policy. More than a decade since Russia’s building plans were approved, construction has failed to progress. The capital authority gave Russia 20 days to vacate the property.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, now wants to move to the site in Yarralumla, a suburb of Canberra, for his country’s embassy. Myroshnychenko said on Friday that once he received approval from his government, he would make a formal application to the NCA.

Quote"The Ukrainian government is renting an office space in a building for the embassy, and I don’t have a residence, we’ve just rented a small townhouse," the ambassador told ABC radio. "That would be very nice, if we could get that plot of land."
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