#DataforUkraine, Maiupol Life, Bellingcat, More: Ukraine Update, April 22, 2022


Duke Today: Tracking Atrocities Using Big Data. “The #DataforUkraine project uses hourly data from Twitter to report on incidents in Ukraine. Relying on several hundred accounts to identify Twitter communities of interest, it classifies millions of individual tweets into four event categories: civilian resistance, human rights abuses, internally displaced people and humanitarian support and needs.”

Washington Post: In Ukraine’s Mariupol, a website for the missing reveals war’s toll. “A 76-year-old woman, last seen in her basement, is shown smiling in front of a bed of tulips. A missing teenager who may have fled with neighbors is pictured in a dress holding a bouquet. Then there is the elderly couple whose house burnt down in the fighting. And a mother-son duo not heard from in a month. These are just a few of the hundreds of notices users have posted over the past week to a new website aimed at tracking the missing residents of Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian port city Russian forces have besieged for much of the war.”


Bloomberg: Russian Propaganda Is on Social Media, But Not Where You’d Think. “Early in the Ukraine conflict, it seemed like Russia’s propaganda campaigns abroad were going to be severely curtailed. The European Union banned Russian outlets RT and Sputnik. And efforts to paint Ukraine’s government as a neo-Nazi regime were quickly dismissed by the international community, with only a few, very fringe voices saying otherwise. Now, almost eight weeks into the war, Russia has discovered that one of the more effective tools for spreading propaganda is already on the payroll: diplomats—and the social media accounts they control.”


Bellingcat: Bellingcat is Banned in Russia. Here’s How to Beat the Block. “On March 16, Russia’s Prosecutor-General added Bellingcat’s website to a blocklist. This is the latest of Moscow’s ongoing attempts to prevent our investigations reaching the public. We have been aware of the possibility that our website will be blocked for some time and remain committed to our readers in Russia. To that end, we have taken measures to ensure that they can continue to access our website. These include the use of Tor browsers and VPNs.”


Stanford News: Stanford student fights for Ukraine’s history, truth in Russia’s disinformation warfare. “Barely a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Catarina Buchatskiy packed her bags in her Stanford dorm room to go help. As she planned her trip, she wondered how to best prepare for life in a warzone: Would her red backpack make her a target? What shoes would be better for running in, in case she needs to sprint for shelter? Since March 5, 2022, Buchatskiy, who has taken a leave of absence from her studies, has been crossing from Poland into Lviv in Western Ukraine to mobilize supplies that would help museums and other cultural institutions safeguard Ukrainian heritage from destruction.”

C4ISRNET: What war in Ukraine reveals about information age conflict. “Russia’s continued assault on its neighbor Ukraine sheds light on the evolving state of warfare, offering insights the U.S. can use to inform its own defense posture, according to the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. ‘To me, it’s just striking,’ Lt. Gen. Michael Groen said at the C4ISRNET Conference, adding that were this situation viewed through the standard Cold War lens, ‘you’d look at massive steel and massive firepower. Now, you can see the impact of precision capabilities, the information environment.'”

Reuters: Kyiv Symphony’s European Tour Marks ‘Cultural Front’ in Ukraine Crisis. “For Eleanora Tymoshenko, a music teacher from Balakliia, near Kharkhiv in Eastern Ukraine, and now a refugee in Warsaw, a night of Ukrainian music is food for her soul as she reflects on the conflict ravaging her home…. Tymoshenko was one of hundreds of spectators, including diplomats and dignitaries, at the concert on Thursday to watch the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra kick off its tour around Europe.”


Slate: It Looks Like Russia Is Bringing Its State-Owned Telecom Provider Into Its National Security Apparatus. “Putin has for at least a decade viewed the internet as a threat to regime security. Now, Russia’s national defense conglomerate Rostec is reportedly looking to take over significant ownership of Rostelecom, Russia’s state-owned telecommunications provider. Rostec argued that it works in similar areas as Rostelecom and that foreign sanctions on Russia necessitate more coordination between the state and domestic industry. This represents another step in Putin’s growing securitization of the internet—that is, bringing telecommunications and internet sectors further under the arm of the national security apparatus.”

Lieber Institute West Point: Ukraine Symposium – Cyber Neutrality, Cyber Recruitment, And Cyber Assistance To Ukraine. “The war between Russia and Ukraine has given rise to many challenging international humanitarian law (IHL) questions. In this post I will focus on its cyber dimension and consider how certain customary law obligations imposed on belligerents and neutrals under the law of neutrality apply to the current armed conflict. More specifically I will examine how the obligation not to form corps of combatants or recruit on neutral territory (Article 4 Hague Convention V) applies to the formation of the Ukraine-supporting IT Army and how the obligation not to supply war material (Article 6 Hague Convention XIII which lays down a general customary law duty extending beyond naval warfare but also Article 2 Hague Convention V in relation to land warfare) applies to cyber assistance.”

Reuters: Russia fines Google for distributing videos made by Ukrainian far-right groups -TASS . “A Moscow court on Thursday said it had found Alphabet Inc.’s Google guilty of an administrative offense and fined the company for what the TASS news agency said was its distribution of video clips on YouTube produced by Ukrainian far-right groups.”


Defense One: AI Is Already Learning from Russia’s War in Ukraine, DOD Says. “Less has been said about the use of artificial intelligence in the Ukraine war than, say, anti-tank missiles, but the Pentagon is quietly using AI and machine-learning tools to analyze vast amounts of data, generate useful battlefield intelligence, and learn about Russian tactics and strategy, a senior Defense Department official said on Thursday.”

Just Security: How Can We Protect Cultural Heritage in Ukraine? Five Key Steps for the Int’l Community. “…if past is prologue, accountability alone will not act as a restraining factor to Russian attacks upon Ukrainian civilians, civilian infrastructure, and cultural institutions. With this sober reality, Ukrainian cultural workers have taken steps to protect important cultural sites and museum collections. They have received an outpouring of support from the international cultural community. As the war enters into its third month, and Russia prepares for an expanded campaign in eastern Ukraine, there are five considerations international policymakers and donors need to consider for protecting the country’s culture.”

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