Russian Threat to Ukraine Remains

Feb 16, 2022 | Your Source


Soldiers fire a cannon from a tank during training at Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, Feb. 4, 2022. Photo By: Army Spc. Hedil Hernandez.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is in Europe this week to meet with NATO allies. These meetings are taking place as concerns over the threat that Russia poses to Ukraine continues. While Russia’s defense ministry asserts that some of its military units are leaving their positions near Ukraine, that is something that the US has yet to verify according to an update by President Joe Biden.

“We have not yet verified that Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position. And the fact remains: Right now, Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine in Belarus and along Ukraine’s border,” said Biden.

The Russian government also stated it wanted to continue diplomatic talks, which Biden agreed should be given “every chance to succeed.” However, shortly after Russia’s comments and before Biden’s comments, the Ukrainian government reported the online networks of its defense ministry and two banks were overwhelmed in what is called a distributed denial-of-service, which is a type of attack in which hackers flood a network with unusually high volumes of data traffic to paralyze it.

While a statement by the Ukraine government did not directly accuse Russia of being behind this attack, Russia routinely utilizes cyber as part of its arsenal. In fact, according to Nate Beach-Westmoreland, head of strategic cyber threat intelligence at Booz Allen Hamilton, “Russians have published doctrine going back 20 years, if not doctrine, always, but at least strategic writings talking about what is the importance of cyber and information operations more generally to national security. So, in Russia for the past 20 years, they’ve talked about cyber as being part of an information confrontation.”

Unfortunately, the threats don’t end with cyberattacks and an invasion of Ukraine. Concerns over potential conflict or interference in space—for example, jamming or spoofing satellite signals—is another major concern.

On average more than 80,000 American troops are stationed across Europe on rotational or permanent orders. In recent weeks, the Defense Department has moved and shifted thousands of forces to the area.

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By Sharon Lo Managing Editor, Defense Transportation Journal and The Source

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