Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 20, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, one Ukrainians soldier was killed and three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 43 times in total on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 14 times with heavy weapons – Grad rockets, artillery and mortars.
2. US calls on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh
The US Mission to the OSCE stated on April 19, “Russia’s oppression of those opposing its occupation of Crimea continues unabated. We call on the Russian Federation to permit Ukrainian doctors to visit Volodymyr Balukh who has been on a hunger strike since March 19 while incarcerated in Simferopol on fabricated charges. Mr. Balukh should be released immediately.
The United States is also following the trial, which began this week, of Ukrainian Yevhen Panov. Human rights organizations have called the case politically-motivated and expressed concern about the apparent use of torture against him in order to coerce a confession. Panov was targeted for founding an organization to support Ukrainian war veterans, including those, like himself, who fought against Russian aggression in the Donbas. […]
The United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. Crimea-related sanctions on Russia will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine. And we join our European and other partners in restating that our sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine will remain until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements.”
3. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister to visit G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Toronto
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers reported, “On April 22, 2018, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin will take part in a special outreach session devoted to the situation in Ukraine in the framework of a meeting of G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers which will be held in Toronto, Canada.
The participation of the Foreign Minister will contribute to the proper reflection of the ‘Ukrainian issue’ in discussions and outcome documents of the G7 in 2018. Ukraine is interested in receiving the staunchest support of the G7 states, in particular, in countering ongoing Russian aggression, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, de-occupation of Crimea, countering propaganda and hybrid threats, energy security issues, sanctions against the Russian Federation and support for reforms in Ukraine.”
4. We need to stop Russia’s cyber and disinformation campaign now
Writing for the Ottawa Citizen, Macdonald-Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Marcus Kolga stated, “This week, the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ security group – Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada – met to talk about cyber attacks, mostly from Russia. The U.S. and U.K. also issued a warning that Russia has been heavily involved in cyber and disinformation attacks. It can no longer be ignored that Canada is one target of Kremlin disinformation aimed at subverting our democracy and alliances. […]
A comprehensive strategy is required if we hope to avoid the experience of the U.S., U.K., Estonia, Ukraine, France, Spain and Germany over the past years. […]
We must first recognize that the theatres of information warfare expand well beyond the realm of cyber, and that such campaigns threaten not just our elections, but our entire democratic system. As such, efforts to defend it require an approach that begins with an understanding of the nature and complexity of the Kremlin’s disinformation operations.
The core of Canada’s strategy to counter disinformation must include four key principles: identification and monitoring, countermeasures, public literacy and accountability.
A permanent unit that communicates and coordinates between the ministries of Public Safety, Global Affairs, the Department of Defence and Democratic Institutions must be created to identify false narratives and actively monitor their dissemination in concert with our allies. […]
A national media literacy strategy must also be developed to help Canadians identify propaganda and disinformation. Understanding news sources and the importance of verified facts is critical. Awareness within government and media of when state-sponsored organizations and actors attempt to influence issues and narratives is a critical component of information warfare defence.
Finally, foreign governments and disinformation pedlars need to be held accountable for their actions. Canada can use targeted Magnitsky sanctions against foreign propagandists to prohibit their travel to Canada. We can also ensure that foreign propaganda broadcast on Canadian cable systems is identified as such – like warnings for films that contain foul language and violence – and that license owners whose media broadcast foreign disinformation and hate speech, are fined.
Expelling foreign agents who engage in disinformation to undermine Canadian democracy is a good start. But a comprehensive national counter-disinformation strategy must be developed immediately to defend our institutions, elections and society against foreign powers that seek to subvert it.”
The full article is available here: We need to stop Russia’s cyber and disinformation campaign now