War Crimes Watch Ukraine, New York Ukraine Support, Continuing Disinformation Operations, More: Friday Ukraine Update, March 25, 2022


Associated Press: War Crimes Watch: Russia’s onslaught on Ukrainian hospitals. “The War Crimes Watch Ukraine project launched by AP and Frontline includes details of apparent targeted attacks as well as indiscriminate destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure. The AP/Frontline online database will continue to be updated as long as the conflict lasts. The goal is to provide an independent accounting of events, apart from potentially inflated claims by advocates or misinformation spread by state-backed propaganda.”

Governor of New York: Governor Hochul Launches Website with Resources for the Ukrainian People and Their Allies in New York . “Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website containing resources offered by New York State and its partners to help Ukrainian people and their friends and allies here in New York. This follows the Governor’s announcement warning consumers about scams and cybersecurity threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an additional show of support, the Governor also announced the Ukrainian flag will be flown on the Capitol building, the Executive Mansion, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services headquarters.”


Daily Beast: Kremlin TV Just Declared War on… Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s video appeal to the Russian people has been remarkably effective. The famed film star and former California governor posted it not only on Twitter, but also on Telegram, which is used almost exclusively by Russians. For days, Russian state media tried to ignore it altogether—but millions of views across multiple platforms forced them to address Schwarzenegger’s powerful message.”

Washington Post: Blacklisted by the U.S., pro-Russia accounts have still been posting propaganda on Twitter and YouTube. “Tech companies have taken unprecedented steps to crack down on disinformation about the war in Ukraine, banning Russian state media in Western Europe and adding labels to identify Russian government accounts. But more than a dozen YouTube and Twitter accounts tied to individuals and entities on the sanctions list espouse many of the same talking points as state-backed websites such as Sputnik and RT, largely unfettered. Unlike other sensitive content, there are no labels that identify these accounts as being tied to entities targeted by sanctions.”

Washington Post: Russian military behind hack of satellite communication devices in Ukraine at war’s outset, U.S. officials say. “U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that Russian military spy hackers were behind a cyberattack on a satellite broadband service that disrupted Ukraine’s military communications at the start of the war last month, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.”


France24: The fall of Yandex, the shining star of Russian tech. “Though some may confuse it with a certain stretchy garment, Yandex is in fact Russia’s largest tech company. It’s a search engine, marketplace, taxi hailer, food deliverer, music streaming platform and a lot more. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought its share price crashing down and forced many of its staff to flee Russia. So what next for Yandex and its tens of millions of Russian users? FRANCE 24’s tech editor Peter O’Brien has more.” This is a video and unfortunately I cannot see any captioning options.

The Guardian: Video released showing Russian hoax call with UK defence secretary. “A video of defence secretary Ben Wallace being duped into speaking by phone to an impostor posing as the Ukrainian prime minister was published on Monday – hours after Downing Street said it believed Russian state actors were responsible for the hoax.”

Independent: The young Ukranian women documenting their experiences of war on TikTok. “While the war has been the catalyst for some to chronicle their experiences on the social media platform, others have pivoted from crypto recommendations and wellness content, to the emotional turbulence of life as a refugee. The home-made footage offers a personal insight into the challenges faced by those fleeing, including hours spent waiting for transport, answering questions about their lives in Ukraine, and their transition to life in a new country.”

Daily Beast: Video Game War Forgeries Are Giving a Boost to Russia . “Until late 2021, the TikTok account mostly featured videos of motorcycles careening around English roads. Then in February, something changed: the account began uploading purported war footage of Ukraine, earning tens of millions of views. But this motorcycle enthusiast hadn’t traveled to a war zone. Instead, he was uploading video game footage to TikTok and tagging it with a Ukrainian flag. As Russia’s attack on Ukraine dominates headlines, some social media grifters are passing off video game clips as battle footage. They’re amassing huge viewerships—and playing into the Kremlin’s nefarious conspiracy theories about the war.”


Bleeping Computer: Racoon Stealer malware suspends operations due to war in Ukraine. “The cybercrime group behind the development of the Racoon Stealer password-stealing malware has suspended its operation after claiming that one of its developers died in the invasion of Ukraine. Racoon Stealer is an information-stealing trojan distributed under the MaaS (malware-as-a-service) model for $75/week or $200/month.”

Linn’s Stamp News: Ukraine asks UPU for philatelic sanctions on Russia. “Ukraine’s post office, Ukrposhta, has asked the Universal Postal Union and its members to impose philatelic sanctions against Russia related to joint issues, according to a March 18 press release on the Ukrposhta website. The UPU describes itself as the ‘United Nations specialized agency and the postal sector’s primary forum for international cooperation.'”


Media Matters for America: No, actions to restrict Russia’s social media access haven’t decreased right-wing engagement or inauthentic behavior. “Since late February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have acted to reduce the presence of Russian state media on their platforms, and the Russian government has restricted its citizens’ access to the platforms. A number of users on various platforms have credited these actions for reducing presence of so-called ‘bots’ and changing trends in the performance of right-leaning content. But new data shows that these claims are overblown — in fact, there have been no significant changes to performance for conservative content on Facebook or Twitter.”

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