News, Israel Seder Hosts, Grustnogram, More: Ukraine Update, Afternoon, March 30, 2022


Discovered via Reddit: From the front page: “Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the people of Mariupol – a city of half a million – have been besieged. We have heard from our families and friends, still stranded in our city, that hundreds of thousands remain – with no stable food source, no potable water, little mobile connectivity, electricity, or gas, all in freezing weather conditions.
These are their stories.”

Times of Israel: Where are you for Seder? Website pairs Israeli hosts with new Ukrainian immigrants. “In an effort to help ease their integration into Israeli society and in response to many offers of assistance from Israeli citizens, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, along with the Jewish People Policy Institute think tank and Army Radio, launched its new initiative, in which Israelis offer to host new immigrants for the Seder meal by filling out an online form (Hebrew)…. Alongside this initiative, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry also unveiled a new program to allow Israelis to offer various forms of assistance to the new immigrants from Ukraine, as well as those from Russia and Belarus, who have also been increasingly coming to Israel in the wake of Moscow’s war.”

Core77: In Russia, a “Social Media Network for the Sad” Instagram Replacement. “With Instagram now banned in Russia, some 80 million users are unable to access the app. Thus Russian app developers Alexandr Tokarev and Ivan Semkin say they’re launching a sad (as in melancholy) alternative to the app this week, called Grustnogram.”


Sky News: Ukrainian viral cat sensation raises £7,000 for charity after fleeing shelling by Russian forces in Kharkiv. “A Ukrainian cat who went viral on TikTok has escaped to France and raised £7,000 for charities providing aid to animals caught up in the conflict.”

Daily Beast: Pregnant Woman Smeared as Ukrainian ‘Crisis Actor’ in Hospital Bombing Gives Birth. “Marianna Podgurska, a beauty blogger from Mariupol who was caught on camera with her face covered in blood after Russia bombed a maternity ward and a children’s hospital in Mariupol, gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday night, her relatives said. Marianna’s aunt, Tetyana Liubchenko, who lives in Bodrum, Turkey, confirmed the news to The Daily Beast in a phone interview. She said Marianna’s husband Yuriy was able to call them this morning to let them know.”


Washington Post: 4,000 letters and four hours of sleep: Ukrainian leader wages digital war. “Weeks after Russia invaded, Ukraine’s youngest cabinet minister launched a complaint to the Chinese drone company DJI, claiming that Russia’s military was using its popular technology to target missile attacks. ‘@DJIGlobal are you sure you want to be a partner in these murders?’ tweeted Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation. ‘Block your products that are helping russia to kill the Ukrainians!'”

The Economist: The invasion of Ukraine is not the first social media war, but it is the most viral. “YOU HAVE probably seen the videos from Ukraine. There is the one where Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, stands outside Kyiv’s government quarter in dim light, holding his smartphone with the camera pointed selfie-style at himself and several senior officials. ‘We are all here,’ he declares, days after Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, sent his tanks across the border. Or the one a Ukrainian soldier took, showing his mates in a snowy field firing anti-tank missiles, set to a thumping techno soundtrack.”

The Intercept: Google Ordered Russian Translators Not To Call War In Ukraine A War. “IN EARLY MARCH, contractors working for Google to translate company text for the Russian market received an update from their client: Effective immediately, the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine could no longer be referred to as a war but rather only vaguely as ‘extraordinary circumstances.’ The internal email, obtained by The Intercept, was sent by management at a firm that translates corporate texts and app interfaces for Google and other clients.”

New York Times: How War in Ukraine Roiled Facebook and Instagram. “Meta has made more than half a dozen content policy revisions since Russia invaded Ukraine last month. The company has permitted posts about the conflict that it would normally have taken down — including some calling for the death of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and violence against Russian soldiers — before changing its mind or drawing up new guidelines, the people said. The result has been internal confusion, especially among the content moderators who patrol Facebook and Instagram for text and images with gore, hate speech and incitements to violence. Meta has sometimes shifted its rules on a daily basis, causing whiplash, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly.”


Reuters: Exclusive-Hackers Who Crippled Viasat Modems in Ukraine Are Still Active Company Official. “Hackers who crippled tens of thousands of satellite modems in Ukraine and across Europe are still trying to hobble U.S. telecommunications company Viasat as it works to bring its users back online, a company official told Reuters. Viasat Inc has been working to recover after a cyberattack remotely disabled satellite modems just as Russian forces pushed into Ukraine in the early hours of Feb. 24.”

CNN: ‘I can fight with a keyboard’: How one Ukrainian IT specialist exposed a notorious Russian ransomware gang. “As Russian artillery began raining down on his homeland last month, one Ukrainian computer researcher decided to fight back the best way he knew how — by sabotaging one of the most formidable ransomware gangs in Russia. Four days into Russia’s invasion, the researcher began publishing the biggest leak ever of files and data from Conti, a syndicate of Russian and Eastern Europe cybercriminals wanted by the FBI for conducting attacks on hundreds of US organizations and causing millions of dollars in losses.”


Euractiv: ‘Russia burns our books hoping to destroy our nation’. “With Russian invaders’ goal being the destruction of the Ukrainian nation, they confiscate books and destroy school textbooks on the history of Ukraine. They are particularly interested in destroying those on the history of Maidans, the war in Donbas during 2014-2022, and the history of Ukrainian liberation struggles writes Roman Rukomeda.”

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