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Russian Digest 4/18
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Top U.S. officials are ramping up their warnings about possible Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure as the war in Ukraine escalates.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” on CBS, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly discussed the threats they’re seeing and the various ways their respective agencies are preparing for potential Russian cyberattacks.
“We are seeing Russian state actors scanning, probing, looking for opportunities, looking for weaknesses in our systems on critical infrastructure, on businesses,” Monaco told Bill Whitaker of “60 Minutes.” via The Hill
Putin hands out genocide award
Putin has given elite status to a unit of the Defense Ministry that is accused of war crimes in the Kyiv region.
The 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade has been given the honorary title "Guards" for "mass heroism and bravery, resilience and courage showed by its personnel," according to Putin's decree, which was signed on April 18 and takes effect immediately.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, it was the 64th brigade that occupied Bucha, a city with a population of about 50,000 people, where mass graves and hundreds of dead civilians were discovered after the withdrawal of Russian forces.
According to the mayor of the city, Anatoly Fedoruk, the Russian military killed every fifth inhabitant who remained in Bucha during the occupation. More than 40 countries have applied to the International Criminal Court demanding an international investigation. France sent its gendarmes to the city, and Germany allocated 1 million euros to the ICC for this purpose. via Moscow Times
Russia appears to have launched its long-anticipated large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine, officials said Monday, after Moscow stepped up missiles attacks, including one on the western city of Lviv that killed at least seven — the city’s first fatalities since the war began.
Moscow has for weeks been amassing troops and supplies in preparation for its renewed assault on the Donbas region, which became the Kremlin’s primary focus after its forces failed to capture Kyiv during the first phase of the invasion. “It can now be stated that the Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive.” via Washington Post
40,000 civilians deported from Mariupol - city mayor
We have previously reported Ukrainian claims accusing Russia of relocating thousands of civilians from Mariupol, the port city devastated by shelling.
Speaking on Monday, the mayor of Mariupol said about 40,000 civilians from the city had been "forcibly deported" to Russia or Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine.
Speaking on Ukrainian television, Vadym Boichenko said the numbers had been "verified through the municipal register".
It was not possible to independently confirm the figures and Russia has denied targeting civilians.
The BBC's Anna Foster in Kyiv says the forced deportations have been mentioned before and were very difficult to verify.
More than 400,000 people lived in Mariupol before the invasion, and at least 140,000 thousand managed to escape from the city. via BBC
Baza Telegram channel has reported that the family of the former vice-president of Gazprombank Vladislav Avaev was found murdered in Moscow. According to the preliminary version of the investigators, 51-year-old Vladislav shot his 47-year-old wife Elena and 13-year-old daughter Maria with a pistol, and then committed suicide.