The ultimatum came on Monday, a month since a group of Ukrainian legislators and army veterans started blocking some rail traffic in eastern regions.
The blockade is opposed by the Ukrainian government, as it prevents coal produced in the rebel-held territory from reaching power plants and the steel industry in the rest of the country, whose exports are a keystone of Ukraine’s economy.
In a joint statement, leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) said on Monday the blockade had caused many businesses to suffer in rebel-held areas and that it went against the spirit of the 2015 Minsk peace agreement.
Alexander Zakharchenko, of the DNR, and the LNR’s Igor Plotnitsky said: “We are forced to announce that if, by midnight on Wednesday, the blockade is not taken down, we will introduce a system of external management on all companies registered in Ukraine’s jurisdiction that operate in the DNR and LNR.”
They also said they would stop selling coal to Ukraine and send future coal supplies to Russia or elsewhere.
Russia’s Mysterious Cyber Treason Case Just Got Even Sketchier
Late last year, top cybersecurity investigators from a private firm and Russian intelligence were arrested in dramatic fashion. One was dragged out of a meeting with a bag over his head. All were disappeared. Details were scare at the time, but revelations from a new Reuters report now only complicate what we know.
In December, Ruslan Stoyanov, head of the computer incidents investigation team at Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, was arrested with no explanation from Russian law enforcement. Along with Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev, Stoyanov was charged with treason. Reports indicated that the suspects would be tried in a “secret military tribunal.”
According to a Reuters source, the treason charges are related to accusations made by a Russian businessman named Pavel Vrublevsky seven years ago. In 2010, Vrublevsky, founder of internet payment firm ChronoPay, reported the suspects to authorities. He claimed that they had passed state secrets to American firms including Verisign, a company that specializes in domain name services and internet security, which then turned them over to US intelligence. Reuters reports the accusations were never investigated.
A spokesperson from Verisign, the only American firm identified, denied that it had been given any secret information. The company does have an iDefense unit that gathers information on cybercrime and supplies dossiers to US intelligence, but the spokesperson insisted that it does not deal in classified information. “Nothing like the arrangement as described by Pavel Vrublevsky ever took place,” said Kimberly Zenz, a former analyst at Verisign’s iDefense unit.
PUTIN AND ERDOGAN COZY UP TO DIVIDE SYRIA
Something big and important must be at the heart of a relationship in which both sides are able to overcome the pain they repeatedly inflict on each other. Russia and Turkey, historically adversaries and newly active allies, are one such case.
While the United States is sending conflicting signals about its Syria policy, Russia, Turkey and Iran are negotiating a pragmatic framework of coexistence in the region, which is torn by international and sectarian conflicts.
Russia and Turkey in particular seem to have found a way of pursuing larger goals while agreeing to disagree on the many diverging interests that will always keep the two countries apart.
The two countries’ mutual history is rough. They clashed incessantly and waged war on each other once every quarter century when they were still empires. Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey ended up on opposite sides of the Cold War divide.
Iraq army seizes key Mosul bridge in ISIS battle
“The Rapid Response Forces of the Iraqi Federal Police completely liberated al-Jawsaq neighborhood and control the fourth bridge… Iraqi flags are now raised on buildings, and heavy casualties were inflicted on ISIS,” Lt. Gen. Abdel Amir Rasheed Yarallah of the Joint Operations Command said Monday.
Asian imports of Iranian oil rise nearly 70 percent year/year in January
Imports of Iranian crude by Asia’s four main buyers of the oil rose about two-thirds in January from a year ago when levels were lower as Western sanctions on Tehran had only just been lifted.
Iran’s top four Asian buyers – China, India, South Korea and Japan – imported 1.64 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 67.6 percent on a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data showed.
Airbus faces battle on two fronts over call for A400M aid
Airbus (AIR.PA) faces tough negotiations on two fronts as it seeks new relief from European governments and engine makers for losses on its troubled A400M military transporter plane.
The planemaker called last week for new talks with European governments to ease “heavy penalties” for delays to the troop and armored vehicle carrier, after taking a fresh 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) charge for Europe’s largest defense project.
It has also appointed a new program manager for the A400M as part of a broader reshuffle and is set to beef up the management of its military aircraft business with a new deputy, industry sources said. Airbus declined to comment.
The 20-billion-euro project has been beset by political wrangling since its inception more than a decade ago. By citing a new ‘crisis’ and calling for ministerial talks, Airbus seems to be repeating tactics that led to a previous 3.5 billion euro bailout in 2010.
STEPANAKERT, Artsakh (ArmRadio)—The Azerbaijani launched an offensive toward Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic positions on February 25 using various weaponry in the southeastern (Martuni) and eastern (Akna) directions of the Artsakh/Azerbaijani border, also known as the line of contact, twice at 3am and 4am, the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported.
The Artsakh armed forces did not have any casualties, while Azerbaijan lost five servicemen in the neutral zone.
“The attempt was a complete failure,” the Ministry said, adding that, as the Azeri side tried to ascribe its actions to the Armenian side.
Cyber attackers target Singapore Defence Ministry, but no secrets found
Cyber attackers have stolen basic personal data from about 850 Singapore national servicemen and employees in a possible attempt to access official secrets, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry detected the breach this month in the I-net system that allows internet surfing using dedicated computer terminals on defense ministry and Singapore Armed Forces premises, the ministry said in a statement.
No classified military information was stored on I-net, the ministry said.
“The attack on I-net appeared to be targeted and carefully planned,” it said.
“The real purpose may have been to gain access to official secrets, but this was prevented by the physical separation of I-net from our internal systems.”
SINGAPORE MILITARY HACK ‘PROBABLY STATE SPONSORED’
Breach of defence ministry’s ‘I-net’ system stole identity card information, telephone numbers and dates of birth of 850 people
Inside The Insane Coup Russian Spies Dressed As Cops Tried To Launch
A Russian intelligence official will reportedly face indictment for plotting a coup to stop Montenegro from joining NATO by assassinating its prime minister.
Eduard Sismakov, an officer with the GRU military service, allegedly ran a network of Serbian and Russian nationalists and paramilitaries who tried to disrupt the Montenegrin election Oct. 16. The plan was to break into the Montenegro Parliament, kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and put pro-Russian parties in power.
Milivoje Katnic, Montenegro’s special prosecutor, told The Telegraph that a group of plotters were placed among protestors outside the parliament building as the election results were announced. The group was supposed to force its way inside the building at an appointed sign. Another group, dressed in police uniforms, would then open fire against the protestors “so that citizens would think that the official police are shooting at them.” The eventual goal was to kill Djukanovic inside the building.
Pan Systems MD refutes report and says his firm began pulling out from N. Korea from 2007 after UN scanctions
Singapore-based firm Pan Systems had no connection to Glocom, the North Korean front company that violated United Nations sanctions by selling battlefield radio equipment, claims its managing director, Mr Louis Low.
His denial comes after a report by Reuters yesterday, citing a UN report drafted for the Security Council, which said Glocom was operated by the Pyongyang branch of Pan Systems.
The report also said the North Korean branch of Pan Systems made use of bank accounts, front companies and agents in China and Malaysia to trade in radio components and accessories.
Army deploys more than 100 MRAPs to South Korea
The Army is deploying more than 100 MRAPs to South Korea by the end of February to boost troop protection capabilities as tensions rise on the divided peninsula.
By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPES
SEOUL, South Korea — The Army is sending more than 100 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to South Korea to boost troop protection capabilities as tensions rise on the divided peninsula.
The decision is a reversal after a 2012 feasibility study found that MRAPs — famous for saving countless lives from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan — weren’t suitable for maneuver battalions in South Korea.
The 8th Army says it began fielding MRAPs and smaller versions known as M-ATVs in late December and was on track to complete the deployment to multiple locations by the end of February.
China secures its ‘biggest’ military export order for new UAV system
28 February 2017
China announced on 27 February that its Wing Loong II UAV had completed its maiden flight. Source: Via Sina.com.cn
Counterfeiters, hackers cost U.S. up to $600 billion a year
MONDAY, FEB. 27, 2017, 4:47 P.M.
WASHINGTON – Counterfeit goods, software piracy and the theft of trade secrets cost the American economy as much as $600 billion a year, a private watchdog says.
In a report out Monday, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says the annual losses range from about $225 billion to $600 billion. The theft of trade secrets alone costs the United States between $180 billion and $540 billion annually. Counterfeit goods cost the United States $29 billion to $41 billion annual; pirated software costs an additional $18 billion a year.
The findings echo those of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which in 2015 pegged the annual cost of economic espionage by computer hacking at $400 billion.
The commission labels China the world’s No. 1 culprit. Including Hong Kong, China accounts for 87 percent of counterfeit goods seized entering the United States. The report says the Chinese government encourages intellectual property theft.