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Ukraine News. Saturday 26 May. [Ukrainian sources]

on Sat May 26, 2018 3:39 pm
SATURDAY HEADLINES:
US Envoy Volker says UN peacekeepers should replace Russian troops in Ukraine's east. Odesa activist Sternenko survives another assassination attempt, kills one of two assailants. Trump's attorney Giuliani says he believes Cohen received no secret payment from Ukraine to help fix talks with US President. US should never forget that Russians annexed one fifth of Ukraine, - Pompeo. It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down, - US State Department on JIT findings. Kremlin suspected of plotting another cyber attack on Ukraine using 500,000 hacked routers.

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Kremlin suspected of plotting another cyber attack on Ukraine using 500,000 hacked routers

on Sat May 26, 2018 3:44 pm
Kremlin suspected of plotting another cyber attack on Ukraine using 500,000 hacked routers



Cisco on Wednesday warned that hackers have infected at least 500,000 routers and storage devices in dozens of countries with highly sophisticated malicious software, possibly in preparation for another massive cyber attack on Ukraine.

As reported by Censor.NET citing CNBC, Cisco's Talos cyber intelligence unit said it has high confidence that the Russian government is behind the campaign, dubbed VPNFilter, because the hacking software shares code with malware used in previous cyber attacks that the U.S. government has attributed to Moscow.

Cisco said the malware could be used for espionage, to interfere with internet communications or launch destructive attacks on Ukraine, which has previously blamed Russia for massive hacks that took out parts of its energy grid and shuttered factories.

"With a network like this you could do anything," Cisco researcher Craig Williams told Reuters.

The Russian government has vehemently denied assertions by Ukraine, the United States, other nations and western cyber-security firms that the Kremlin is behind a massive global hacking program, which has included attempts to harm Ukraine's economy and interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The warning about the malware - which includes a module that targets industrial networks like ones that operate the electric grid - will be amplified by alerts from members of the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), a nonprofit group that promotes the fast exchange of data on new threats between rivals in the cyber security industry.

Members include Cisco, Check Point Software, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Sophos Group and Symantec.

"We should be taking this pretty seriously," CTA Chief Executive Officer Michael Daniel said in an interview.

Cisco shared technical details on VPNFilter with the group on Monday during a secret video briefing describing what it has learned over the past few months analyzing the campaign.

While VPNFilter infects routers and internet-connected storage devices used in home offices and small offices, the army of compromised devices can be used to launch coordinated attacks on much larger targets, Williams said.

Although infected devices are scattered across at least 54 countries, Cisco determined the hackers are targeting Ukraine following a surge in infections in that country on May 8, Williams told Reuters.

Researchers decided to go public with what they know about the campaign because they feared the surge in Ukraine, which has the largest number of infections, meant Moscow is preparing to launch an attack there next month, possibly around the time the country celebrates Constitution Day on June 28, Williams said.

Some of the biggest cyber attacks on Ukraine have been launched on holidays or the days leading up to them.

They include the June 2017 "NotPetya" attack that disabled computer systems in Ukraine before spreading around the globe, as well as hacks on the nation's power grid in 2015 and 2016 that hit shortly before Christmas.

VPNFilter gives hackers remote access to infected machines, which they can use for spying, launching attacks on other computers or downloading additional types of malware, Williams said.

Cisco has discovered about 500,000 infected devices, but believes the actual number may be much higher.

The researchers discovered one malware module that targets industrial computers, such as ones used in electric grids, other infrastructure and in factories. It infects and monitors network traffic, looking for login credentials that a hacker can use to seize control of industrial processes, Williams said.

The malware also includes an auto-destruct feature that hackers can use to delete the malware and other software on infected devices, making them inoperable, he said.

VPNFilter is named after a directory the malware creates to hide its files on an infected device.

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US Envoy Volker says UN peacekeepers should replace Russian troops in Ukraine's east

on Sat May 26, 2018 3:47 pm
US Envoy Volker says UN peacekeepers should replace Russian troops in Ukraine's east



U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker says that UN peacekeepers should replace Russian troops in Ukraine's Donbas region.

"I think the most important message for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is that Europeans want to see peace in Ukraine, they want to see the restoration of Ukraine's territory, they want to see the implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said in a telephonic press briefing in Brussels, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN.

"This is all in Russia's hands. We need Russia to make it reality." According to him, the decision to change Russia's behavior depends on Putin.

"And it's important for President Putin too. If he wants the restoration of stable relations with Europe, and if he wants the rollback of the sanctions imposed because of fighting in eastern Ukraine, he must act to resolve the conflict," Volker said.

The support of the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to the Donbas is significant in Europe, he said. "And if President Putin seriously agrees to such a force, not just to protect monitors along the contact line, but to a real peacekeeping force – I think we will be able to see some significant progress. I think this is the main message for President Putin," Volker said.

However, he said he had no official information from the Kremlin if Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov remains Russia's envoy to the negotiations on Ukraine. "Russia must make a fundamental decision to establish peace in the east of Ukraine, to withdraw its troops and allow the peacekeeping force with the UN mandate to replace them. I think this is the best expectation that exists, so we will do our best to keep the channels and dialogue open," Volker said.

On Sept. 5, Russian President Putin said deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in the Donbas was quite appropriate for solving of the conflict in the region, but only along the line of contact and with the aim of protecting the OSCE mission.

Ukraine's representative in Humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite contact group in Minsk talks, deputy speaker of Ukrainian parliament Iryna Herashchenko commented on Putin's statement and said the Kremlin scenarios will fail; peacekeepers must be introduced across all Russia-occupied territories.

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Odesa activist Sternenko survives another assassination attempt, kills one of two assailants. VIDEO

on Sat May 26, 2018 3:52 pm
Odesa activist Sternenko survives another assassination attempt, kills one of two assailants. VIDEO

Serhii Sternenko, a well-known Odesa activist, ex-leader of the Right Sector, and incumbent head of Nebaiduzhi NGO yesterday survived a third attack over the last three months.

As reported by Censor.NET, the video captured right after the attack was posted by Sternenko on social media. Warning! Viewer discretion is strongly advised

He said that he was attacked by two unidentified individuals late on May 24. According to Sternenko, he was fast enough "to apply the right to self-defense" and "use his knife." He said that he had wounded one of the attackers.

According to him, he was attacked by two persons as he and his girlfriend were approaching his home.

Sternenko stabbed one of the assailants with a knife. The second attacker escaped before the police arrived.

Sternenko’s girlfriend Natalia Usatenko later said that the injured attacker died of his wounds.

As for the activist, he has got.



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It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down, - US State Department on JIT findings

on Sat May 26, 2018 3:55 pm
It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down, - US State Department on JIT findings



U.S. Department of State urged Russia to account for its role in bringing down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014.

"The United States has complete confidence in the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) as presented today by the Dutch Public Prosecutor: the missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 originated from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Brigade of the Russian Federation, stationed in Kursk," spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Heather Nauert said in a press statement on Thursday, Censor.NET reports.

"Today’s announcement confirms and adds detail to what we have said from the earliest days of this tragedy: MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces.

"We recall the UN Security Council’s demand that "those responsible … be held to account and thatall Statescooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability." We call upon Russia, in particular, to respect and adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2166 (2014). It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down.

"We remain confident in the ability of the Dutch criminal justice system to prosecute those responsible in a manner that is fair and just.

"We again extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims and call for justice on behalf of the 298 innocent civilians who lost their lives on that day," the spokesperson said.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. 298 people died in the crash. The passengers were citizens of 10 countries. The majority of victims (196) were Dutch nationals. On July 21, 2014, the Russian MoD presented a series of fabricated and misleading information about the flight path of MH17, radar data, etc.

Censor.NEThas been reporting about the investigation of the crash investigation progress and publishedexclusive photos of the hangar and the submunitions of Russian missile Buk-M1-2, featured in the criminal investigation. Prosecutor's Offices of the Netherlands and Australia have prepared convincing evidence. It was established that submunitions that hit the Boeing exactly match those from the warhead of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile Buk-M1-2. The system was developed in 1997, put into service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 1998, and was never delivered to Ukraine. In addition, independent experts from Germany, England and Poland studied the fragments of the debris and concluded they were part of a Russian Buk missile. Modern chemical analysishas identified the composition of the metal and found parts of the glass and skin of the same downed Boeing that had been cut by these elements prior to hitting the people.

In November 2015, President Poroshenko visited the Netherlands and said that Ukraine was employing its membership in the U.N. Security Council for investigation of the MH17 tragedy.

In May 2016, Australian law firm LHD filed a lawsuit against Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin to the European Court for Human Rights on behalf of relatives of those killed in the Malaysian Boeing MH17. The lawsuit names Putin as accused defendant and demands $10 million for each killed passenger.

On May 24, 2018, Joint Investigation Team said it managed to ascertain that the BUK system used to bring down MH17 was in service with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Namely, it belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in the city of Kursk, the Russian Federation.

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Trump's attorney Giuliani says he believes Cohen received no secret payment from Ukraine to help fix talks with US President

on Sat May 26, 2018 4:08 pm
Trump's attorney Giuliani says he believes Cohen received no secret payment from Ukraine to help fix talks with US President



President Donald Trump's outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, responded to a bombshell report Wednesday that said Michael Cohen had received a secret payment of at least $400,000 from Ukraine to help fix talks with Trump.

As reported by Censor.NET, Giuliani, who met with Poroshenko in Ukraine late last year, told Business Insider in a Wednesday phone interview he did not know anything about the reported payment to Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer of the president.

But the attorney added he had "no reason not to believe" Cohen.

"Payments can be proved pretty easily, so it would be silly to deny it if it happened," Giuliani said. "And he never registered as a foreign agent. And as far as I know, never acted as one."

Giuliani said he wanted to "wait for all the facts" to come out in the matter, and that he wasn't going to "get angry" at Cohen over any "hypothetical" situation.

"I have to assume that maybe there was a discussion of doing this," he said of such an arrangement between Cohen and the Ukrainian government. "And on neither end was it consummated."

Citing sources close to those involved, the BBC said the payment was set up by people acting on behalf of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine, which would be required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act if such a payment took place.

The BBC said the payment, which Cohen denied, was made ahead of Poroshenko's White House visit last June. Shortly after Poroshenko returned to Ukraine, the BBC reported, the nation's anticorruption agency pumped the brakes on its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has since been indicted in the U.S. as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer told the BBC that, before Poroshenko's White House visit, Cohen was brought in because the country's lobbyists couldn't secure a substantive Oval Office meeting with Trump. One source told the BBC that Cohen was paid $400,000, while another said he was paid $600,000.

The BBC wrote that there was no suggestion that Trump knew of the payment.

In addition to Cohen, two Ukrainians who the BBC's sources said opened a back channel with him on behalf of Poroshenko denied the story. The senior Ukrainian intelligence official also told the BBC that Cohen was assisted by a former Trump business partner named Felix Sater, whose lawyer denied the story to the BBC.

After the story was published, Poroshenko's office ripped the claims as "blatant lie, slander, and fake."

"This is how we perceive the disinformation as if the meeting of the President Ukraine and the President of the U.S. had been organized for money,"the statement read. "Ukraine-U.S. summit in June 2017 had been arranged exclusively by means of official diplomatic channels, in particular Ukraine's Embassy in the U.S."

Cohen's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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US should never forget that Russians annexed one fifth of Ukraine, - Pompeo. VIDEO

on Sat May 26, 2018 4:10 pm
US should never forget that Russians annexed one fifth of Ukraine, - Pompeo. VIDEO



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on his agency’s budget request for the 2019 fiscal year.

As reported by Censor.NET citing C-SPAN, questions from the panel of lawmakers touched on many aspects of foreign policy, including U.S. diplomatic strategy and the State Department’s staffing levels.

"I think Russia's invasion and criminal annexation of part of Ukraine, Crimea, is going uncommented on by the rest of the world too often. So, if you could elevate that in any way, I would greatly appreciate it," Rep. Steve Chabot said speaking to Pompeo.

"The last trip I took in my previous role was actually to the Donbas to see the challenges presented to Ukraine and its people there. And this is a very, very serious matter. The Russians annexed one fifth of their country. We should never forget that that's the case," Secretary Pompeo replied.



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