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FSB arrests REvil ransomware gang members (therecord.media)
193 points by _____k 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 167 comments



I wonder if this is related to "Ukraine: 'Massive cyber attack' shuts down government websites" [0] [1].

If this was Russia, then they would probably use the REvil "arrests" as a proof that they don't engage in Cyberwarfare, but rather help the world become a better place by cleaning up the Cyberspace.

Edit: TBH, that Twitter video in the other comment looks pretty serious.

[0] https://news.sky.com/story/ukraine-says-massive-cyber-attack...

[1] https://therecord.media/hackers-deface-ukrainian-government-...


I don't think anyone (including the Russians themselves) think this can be used as proof they don't engage in cyberwarfare. That's like saying that because the FBI (or whoever deals with cybercrime in the US) arrested some domestic hacking group on US soil, the NSA doesn't do any offensive hacking in other countries. No one would think that, so why should anyone think that of Russia?


> I don't think anyone (including the Russians themselves) think this can be used as proof they don't engage in cyberwarfare.

This is how Russian propaganda works. Not just Russian, but authoritarian propaganda in general. It doesn't have to be believable.


It allows to divert a discussion, for example if a Russian politician/minister is confronted with the topic of the Ukraine in a press conference or an interviewer, then it would be easy to stop that discussion by responding with these arrests.

The comparison to the NSA isn't that valid, since it is well known that the NSA does this, but I don't think that there would be many persons who would know a single thing the FSB has done in Cyberspace, unlike them being famous for poisoning and throwing people out of windows.


Or they could just want the money...

>Authorities said they seized more than 426 million rubles, $600,000, and €500,000 in cash, along with cryptocurrency wallets, computers, and 20 expensive cars.


I don't understand why something like arresting criminals has to be immediately seen as part of some sinister scheme. What's wrong with "cleaning up the cyberspace" being exactly that?


Because it is know that Russia looks the other way when dealing with russian ransomware gangs (as long as they don't target Russian business) and it is curiously convinient that it happens now?



I can't help but marvel at how terrible the OpSec on display is here.

Hoards of cash in drawers and bags?

Open laptops with logged in crypto accounts?

Maybe they only showed the few dummies on the team that didn't follow protocol, but all it takes is one idiot to ruin the whole "teamwork" vibe...


I think people really over-estimate the qualifications of these gangs. What made them successful was never their skills - it was their jurisdictional immunity.

They believed that as long as they did not target Russia (or CIS countries), that the Russians would not crack down.

What stops most hackers from orchestrating massive attacks, is the threat of arrest and prison.

For those most highly skilled IT folks, the income difference between a legitimate cybersecurity job and ransomeware engineer, is not enough to justify the risk.


@1:20 guy is squatting while counting the money.

https://reddit.com/r/slavs_squatting/


Heels are on ground. Legit

Do police always film their raids? I doubt it. This almost seems like a TV show. My propaganda spidey sense is going off.


In Russia, they actually do film raids/arrests. It's later used in court I think. It's pretty common, they do it with low profile criminals, too. There's a special officer with a camera filming everything. You can find plenty of such videos on Youtube.


Plenty of countries actually do this, not just Russia. In fact, I think the US is the outlier here in not documenting their raids.


The US, in its majesty, does record many raids but conveniently loses the footage.


Yeah, that's why I wrote documenting, not recording. If it can't be accessed after the fact, I don't think you can consider it documentation.


In this case there may have been a concern about cops wandering off with some of the cash. Note the effort to film finding and counting the money.


Uh... bodycam footage is somehow different?


You are wrong about the filming (it is regularly done across the whole world, if only for the good publicity on TV screens), but your spidey sense might be correct.

FYI, the Russian-language discussions are about whether the whole thing was staged, or only part of it. In other words, they could have actual contacts with protection, and share the money, or they could be observed silently, and maybe controlled through private talks with the leadership. So people try to guess whether members were prepared for the show arrest, or weren't.

Mafia (legal or illegal) does not care about blockchains and exploits, mafia knows that money don't appear out of thin air. When there's a need to launder the money to have those piles of cash, the word of mouth reaches the relevant people. It's not about secret services or international cyber-mumbo-jumbo, it's first and foremost about the money.(Whoop-whoop, capitalism and free market!)

Also, those kinds of relations don't go unnoticed. When there's a need to launder the money to have that expensive real estate in a Western country, the word of mouth reaches the relevant people. The dossier on hackers was not an offer, it was an ultimatum. “Either deal with them, or we are leaking the data on top government officials who benefit from hacking, and making lots of fuss and property seizures”. As they probably met with the same people whose data was supposed to be leaked, it had an effect.

So there is very little “justice” going on, just the same old “the strong reigns over the weak”. How can other commenters rush to discuss cardboard games of “international politics” and to play with hand dolls of “US”, “Russia”, and “China” with such a childlike joy is a mystery to me. These things exist in media propaganda universe, they are not real.


Think it's common all around Europe,it will be used as evidence.


For those wondering if anyone is going to be extradited, they won't be. Under Russian law, a Russian citizen cannot be extradited to another country. As long as these people are Russian citizens they will remain in Russia.


Who was wondering if they are gonna be extradited? Why would they? Unless they are obviously American (which they obviously aren't), I don't see why anyone would expect or even wonder if they would be extradited.


If they extort citizens of some other country, then that other country’s officials will make some attempt to prosecute them in their legal system.

You’re saying this expectation doesn’t match reality?


They're going to get a new job, working for the FSB.


I am incredibly surprised that they would arrest a cybercrime gang largely targeting people outside of Eastern Europe. My impression was that such crime was tolerated as long as it wasn't directed inwards.


It generally is, but you need to quell the flames from time to time. When it became a liability for Russia, likely from the high profile attacks over the past 12 months, you have to act.

My guess is:

- No one is extradited.

- Sentences, if any, are minimal.

- Whatever data collected by these guys is now in the hands of RU intelligence.

- The smarter/competent ones are recruited.

The raids are also interesting because you don't see the same flamboyance we saw from eastern European carders after their raids. Wheres the pet tiger? And the foreign sports cars? I'm curious if perhaps this was a raid on the lower level personnel.

Or maybe this was completely staged and none of these people are associated with REvil at all.


> The raids are also interesting because you don't see the same flamboyance we saw from eastern European carders after their raids. Wheres the pet tiger? And the foreign sports cars?

The article mentions:

"Authorities said they seized more than 426 million rubles, $600,000, and €500,000 in cash, along with cryptocurrency wallets, computers, and 20 expensive cars."

I doubt they were all lower-level personnel


Well, since the article talks about cash we can't be certain. But if those wallets hold less than 50kk then they are not the big fish.


> - Sentences, if any, are minimal.

yeah not in Russia. They don't go easy on people, even if its for "show". This people are f**.


>They don't go easy on people, even if its for "show"

I think quite the contrary, if it's a show trial, they'll get maximum sentences. Giving them minimal sentences would make the whole thing pointless.


they would have been more fucked in the US. no parole, tons of charges and counts stacked.


It's a near thing, but I'd probably take my chances with a US prison over a Russian one. Neither one would be my first, second, or even third choice, though.


In addition, REvil and some other crews have targeted some Chinese companies. China has a different relationship with Russia compared to the US and Russia. China grumbling can probably get more results. Adding that to the reasons in the article means that certain ransomware gangs have become too toxic right now and need to be reined back in.


This has gotta be related to the Russia's recent demands to Nato on Ukraine and resulting negotiations [1]. They yield here, the counterpart yields there.

REevil arrest is just a token of good will, probably in exchange for something.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59985589


There's no downside to arresting them.

You seize their assets. You seize their talent and force them to work for the FSB. ...and you get to pretend to the world that you crack down on international hackers.

It's only upside for Russia.


See -> Ukraine/NATO situation and negotiations


So is is ARE-Evil, or is it REEvil? I've never heard it spoken by anyone, getting my news in written form these days.


I keep saying Resident Evil in my head


I've heard it said both ways on the news today, but I'm leaning towards R-Evil.


r/evil


It is REE-vil.


Neither. It’s REvil.


Not sure why you're being downvoted, you're right! It's REvil, from "Ransomware Evil", bunch of different sources confirming this, too many to link. But Wikipedia keeps a good list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REvil


GGP is asking about pronunciation, not spelling. Saying "it's REvil" does not help clarify pronunciation at all.


It's tounge-in-cheek but try out "revil" (that's like the e in "reverend", not in "evil")


Ha, so I was right in my adjacent comment. BTW, that's how I've also instinctively pronounced REvil in my head, too.


Perhaps @lordnacho couldn't decide between ARE-Evil ('A@r-'i:v@L) and REEvil (r'i:v@L), so @3np suggested REvil (r'Ev'Il). J/k, I'm just showing off `eSpeak -x`'s output, which as a non-native English speaker I've found quite valuable on occasion.


re-evil?


That's an interesting timing given the bigger context.

Sure, the right hand does not talk to the left hand most of times and there's a "separation of concerns", still, there might be something to it.

Anyway, this is an important step in fighting cybercrime.


Yes, this must surely be a concession or a "show of good faith" from the recent U.S.-Russia summit.

From here, Russia (Putin) can either prosecute or release the members depending on how the talks go.


I agree.

I think Putin and Biden may have come to an agreement similar to the one reached between JFK and Kruschev to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. You withdraw your missiles from Cuba now, and we'll withdraw missiles from Turkey - but in 6 months' time, so we don't lose face. So I suspect these arrests are a confidence-building measure.

I predict that tensions will ease visibly in about 6 months.


> “Representatives of the competent US authorities were informed about the results of the operation,” the agency said.

That’s a nice thing to say. Respect for your adversary, trolling or mistranslation?


Competent Authority is a legal term referring to the agency/group that has authority in the given area.


A poor translation. From Russian wikipedia [1]:

"""

Competent authorities are executive authorities endowed with jurisdiction and power to perform any specific tasks (“competence” here means “the right to make decisions”).

"""

[1] https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B5...


Understand "relevant".


What's trolling about that?


Hopefully we'll see an improvement in the relations between Russia and the West.

It will be interesting to see how the (alledgedly mostly russian) ransomware industry fares after this new development.


That's never going to happen if Europe and Russia aren't allowed to integrate their economies further. Until they do, geography will dominate[1] and NATO and Russia will continue to press each other.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE6rSljTwdU


> if Europe and Russia aren't allowed to integrate their economies further.

"allowed"? To a large extend Russian behavior scares the EU away.


The Russians are using their economic integration to try to get away with geopolitical shenanigans. The idea that deeper integration would stop this is ridiculous. Russia having more leverage would drag the EU into more conflict, it seems like.


I think this is naive and ignores the long-term big picture [1]. Russia is being surrounded by NATO weaponry and having their former sphere of influence slowly peeled away from them and it also disregards the general geographic problem that I mentioned before. Until the interests are aligned, all of this will continue. The geopolitical is the core of what's going on here and unification is the only way to stop it [1].

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrMiSQAGOS4


This treats the countries around Russia as lesser and pawns for the great powers to use instead of independent entities with their own interests and rights. No one invaded these countries and forced them to be part of NATO, but Russia certainly is invading them to force them not to be part of NATO. The idea that Russia, or any country, has a right to have a "sphere of influence" is completely immoral. Countries should have the right to determine their own path and the individuals inside those countries should have a right to determine their own government. Russia has actively prevented this with it's neighbors.

No state has no power, so there are no "pawns" but it's very clear which states have significantly more power such that the less powerful states moves become virtually irrelevant to predicting outcomes based on the state of things. It's like big O notation when you zero out the constant factors.

I'm only commenting on why what's happening is happening, not whether it "should" be happening or not. Why states act the way they do is something you can study independent of what you want them to be doing. I explained in my previous comments why Russia is behaving the way they are and if you want to start to get an actual handle on that, check out what Mearsheimer and Caspian Report are saying. I won't be typing out the entire history and argument here.

> No one invaded these countries and forced them to be part of NATO

However, this part isn't true in anything but a pedantic sense. The US spends billions on propaganda, intelligence operations, NGOs, sanctions, capital financing and many other means to sway opinion and eliminate opposition to force themselves on other states as the preferable options. Violence is not the only mode of coercion. Again, this isn't some kind of moral judgement: they all do it, but some are more successful than others. To ignore this is just as naive as the comment I was responding to.


The US tried aligning with China with opening up trade and economic integration to the point where entire supply chains were linked up, WTO membership was granted, etc. It turned out that none of that mattered for aligning non-economic interests.


I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought those situations were the same and had the same solution.

I pity the guy who just paid a ransom 5 minutes before the raid. No bitcoins, and no data, and customer service is not available.

I was surprised to see how poorly they lived given how much ransoming had been done. Truly living beneath their means.

Maybe they've seen Goodfellas

("oh look, this really poor person rumored to be a criminal suddenly got very very rich and is throwing their money around" is a great way to attract LE attention)


Likely about the same fate as WWII German Rocket Scientists - Keep doing the same work for a different boss.


The FSB plays for keeps, I would not want to be in their shoes. Wonder what they did to piss off the Russian government, it would have to be something like that, as long as they are just ripping off Western Europe and the USA it seems that they were allowed to operate.


Probably the Russians got tired of US and European diplomats complaining. The squeaky wheel got some grease.


I’d say this might be fig leaf from Russia to America to take some of the heat out of the last week.


We'll stop those cyberattacks as long as you let us have Ukraine. Deal?

nothing will happen to those arrested probably


seems like low level folks, the real hackers are sitting in moscow city towers


The question is: What happens with the whole amount of money seized by FSB?


What money?


I think we can trust the President of Russia...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0hTrnaa8aE


Ask PayPal


What usually happens: it disappears


"New recruits for GRU. Good." - Putin


The funniest part:

> charged with committing crimes under Part 2 of Art. 187 ‘Illegal circulation of means of payment’


That article is about forging/counterfeiting cards/cheques/whatever that's not cash but can be used for payment, so... what is funny about that?


It's like arresting Al Capone for tax evasion.


I imagine it's just the immediately actionable(?) accusation: "as well as electronic means, electronic information carriers, technical devices, computer programs intended for illegal acceptance, issuance, transfer of funds" — most likely the "Extortion" will be thrown in later as well, but since those extorted are abroad... there may be some processual difficulties, getting the affidavits and all that.


Makes sense, thanks


> The raid comes after President Biden and US authorities have pressured Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly over the summer to crack down on the Russian underground cybercrime ecosystem, which harbors many of today’s top ransomware crews.

Oof. After that call Putin must've forgot to tell the FSB to not lift a finger for a while, because you just know his American colleagues will jump at the chance to credit this to themselves.

Predictably, it's happening.


These arrests would absolutely not have happened without US pressure.


Really? You think the same country that acts like this[1] gives a rat's ass about some criminals the US wants to see arrested?

Can't wait for them to arrest Snowden next.

[1] https://www.courthousenews.com/russia-us-talks-end-with-impa...


I wonder what changed… they definitely did not try to hide. I bet they did something against Putin or refused to do something.

And regarding extradition- if I’m in their shoes I will plead to be extradited to the US.

The higher one is in politburo the deeper one’s grave is.


> And regarding extradition- if I’m in their shoes I will plead to be extradited to the US.

Where are you from? No one wants to be extradited to the US, not sure why these Russian people would be any different. Just look what happened to Manning. If you want to aim for a fair trial, you don't want to be extradited to the US.


Here in Russia, prison time is rarely more than 10 years, even for serious crimes like murder. Even terrorists sometimes get just 25 years. In the US on the other hand, it's not uncommon to hear that someone was sentenced to 400 years for some mere fraud. Also, they'd find themselves in a foreign, hostile environment.


Three or four, nobody important, necessarily, average men would do -- (someone at ФСБ few weeks before)


There have been precedents, I wrote about it just yesterday: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29913881 Although not as high profile as REvil


They missed their regular payment to Putin.


> The FSB, which serves as Russia’s internal intelligence agency, said it conducted its operation at the request of US authorities

This needs to be understood through the Ukraine/NATO crisis lens.

Carrot and stick.

Show that you can act both in a "good" or "bad" way.


They are probably not gonna serve jail time. Their brains are too valuable. They will likely get a desk at the FSB headquarters.


New acqi-hiring strategies coming soon to a megacorp near you!


also if you make prisons really really ugly, psychologically, then people are more likely to take your "offer" .


> They are probably not gonna serve jail time. Their brains are too valuable. They will likely get a desk at the FSB headquarters.

A raid like this would be a really stupid way to "acqui-hire" some hackers. My understanding is a lot of these hackers already work with the FSB, etc. Using outside people helps the FSB by giving them a level of deniability.


> Their brains are too valuable.

lol. don't make them out to be geniuses. REvil was basically a successful startup. not even a unicorn AND it's going to land them in prison for some amount of time.

Putin showed Biden that's he's acting in good faith. No one at that level cares what happens to a bunch of hackers


for sure they are going to work for FSB


That's literally what the comment you're replying to is saying


but think about this, them getting arrested is actually them being coerced into working for the FSB.


Oh wow yea and on top of that, I wonder if anyone has considered that they might be getting forced to work for the FSB!


cooperation

> “As a result FSB and Min of Internal Affairs effotts, REvil ceased to exist, their infrastructure was neutralized,” per RIA

> An “informed source” told Interfax that Russia won’t extradite detained members of REvil with Russian passports to the US. Source didn’t specify whether all the detained hackers are Russians.

Mary Ilyushina · @maryilyushina · 6:57 AM · Jan 14, 2022

https://twitter.com/maryilyushina/status/1481973752292417543


IIRC Russian law prohibits extradiction and there's no treaty between US and Russia.


Elaborate?


Rus: "We'll support you with your interests if you at the very least turn a blind eye to ours"

That's my naive read, anyway.


Russia, not Rus. Rus and Russia are two totally different things.


RUS is the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_vehicle_registra... of Russia, I cannot see anything wrong with that.

No idea what Rus might be.


In fairness, I should've contracted even further to the ISO 3166 code "RU"

Vehicle codes are only slightly less clear than the ISO codes, but they're used in a surprising number of places, like international sports.

Edit: Oh wait, I'm mis-speaking. Sports tend to use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1_alpha-3, which includes RUS

So yeah, I guess I don't feel bad.



Maybe OP is suggesting Putin wants to restore the medieval glory of Kievan Rus',


That would be like Islandia resurrecting British Empire. Literally, well maybe actually Islandia has more right to do so than Russia have anything to do with Rus'.


Russia doesn't usually care much about its nationals hacking outside of its borders.


Good that they are cracking down on ransomware gangs; bad that they are looming over an invasion of ukraine.


The US made an agreement under George HW Bush that they would not extend the boundaries of the NATO area beyond West(!) Germany. They now have troops in places bordering Russia, like Poland. It's not really surprising the Russians have tooled-up. And it's worth noting that the Russian troops are all still in Russia (apart from the troops in Crimea, and the surrogates in eastern Ukraine).

I'm not for a moment trying to defend Russian bellicosity in Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea. I'm just noting that it's understandable, given repeated Western violations of promises and treaties. Treaties signed by the USA, in particular, might as well be used toilet-paper (ask Iran).


> US made an agreement under George HW Bush that they would not extend the boundaries of the NATO area beyond West(!) Germany

This isn’t fully true. It’s been alleged. But Gorbachev has publicly admitted he has no memory of it. There were no agreements signed nor even public statements made backing it up. Which is strange since the U.S. and USSR did sign a memorandum on Germany’s reunification, in the context of which this supposed agreement was made.

All of which is irrelevant given Russia signed the Budapest memorandum in 1994, an actual treaty, not some secret handshake hocus pocus, which Putin is presently violating. So it’s weird for it to be waiving the flag of broken agreements.


> And the last point. NATO is the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe. If NATO is liquidated, there will be no such mechanism in Europe. We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.

taken from https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/document/16117-document-06-record-...


> We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.

This was a discussion in prelude to the signing of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany [1]. Baker's is a statement of understanding the "Soviet Union [and] other European countries'" position, not an agreement--not even the hint of one. None of it made it into the final Treaty. Lots of ideas were mooted and abandoned in that transcript; it's revisionist to fixate on that one. (As, again, Gorbachev himself publicly admitted.)

Also, immediately following that statement, Baker says that he does not "have the Germans’ agreement to this approach," and that what he has relayed is "an account of this approach," holding that "maybe something much better can be created." Two men discussing ideas in pursuit of an agreement, which was drafted days and signed months thereafter.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_the_Final_Settlement...


You have claimed that "Gorbachev has publicly admitted he has no memory of it". This record of preliminary talks with Baker published by Gorbachev Foundation proves the opposite. There's no question this document has no legal bearing, but it's definitely more than just an allegation to say the US have fooled poor Gorbi.

> This record of preliminary talks with Baker published by Gorbachev Foundation proves the opposite

The idea was discussed. Nobody disputes that. Gorbachev disputes there was agreement. A position the transcript supports.

It’s like if two people are negotiating a price; one says 5, the other acknowledges hearing five and proposes 3, and then they trade at 4. Twenty years later, one of their daughters calls foul because the buyer acknowledged hearing 5 but only paid 4. That is the imbecilic position this argument takes.


You're still missing my point: your claim about Gorbachov having no memories of NATO borders negotioations is false, the sole purpose of my comment was to debunk it. There's one thing I can agree with you though: this argument had really taken imbecilic position.

> your claim about Gorbachov having no memories of NATO borders

No memory of an agreement, not of a discussion. Putin claims agreement. That is false.


> Lots of ideas were mooted and abandoned in that transcript

Thanks for clarifying.


Is UN supposed to enforce treaties? I suppose treaties aren't really legal contracts but some type of metal legal contract where nations themselves are legal persons? Is there a list of treaty breach being enforced in some way? I suppose sanctions are how they generally do it, right?


International treaties generally set out on their face what remedies there are for violations. The WTO is often the forum for resolving problems with trade treaties. Multilateral treaties are often formed under UN auspices, so that (e.g.) the IMO regulates mulilateral maritime agreements.

But in general, I think the assumption is that parties enter into international treaties because both parties reckon the agreement to be a "win". I'm not aware of anyone ever trying to enforce a mutual-defence treaty - if you violate one of those, I think people just take it that the treaty is over.

There's no "international law", as such; there's just a web of agreements.


> Is UN supposed to enforce treaties?

No. It’s supposed to “enforce” treaties signed under its auspices, but even that requires SC approval, which any member can veto.


It should be made clear that the promise not to extend the boundaries of NATO was an informal understanding, it was not written into any treaty, and was made by someone without the authority to ensure that would actually happen. JCPOA aside, there's plenty of treaty-breaking that Russia has engaged in. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine wound up with a large supply of nuclear weapons on its soil, making it the country with the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile. Ukraine agreed to give up those nuclear weapons to Russia, on the condition that Russia not violate its territorial sovereignty, in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The annexation of Crimea is a clear violation of that agreement (maybe Ukraine will ask for its nukes back). There's also the INF treaty, which the Russians violated with variants of their Iskander missile system. Granted, the Trump administration decided to piss in the proverbial swimming pool rather than try to get Russia back into compliance, but Russia did genuinely start this.

> And it's worth noting that the Russian troops are all still in Russia (apart from the troops in Crimea, and the surrogates in eastern Ukraine).

To be clear, more than a few Russian soldiers have been captured in eastern Ukraine, it's not just surrogates fighting.

> I'm not for a moment trying to defend Russian bellicosity in Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea. I'm just noting that it's understandable, given repeated Western violations of promises and treaties.

I really don't see how military actions in those places is "understandable," in the context of "Western violations". Annexing Crimea did nothing to improve Russia's security against NATO. If anything it hurt Russia's place in the international community and hardened NATO against it. Keep in mind that they didn't annex Crimea because Ukraine was thinking of joining NATO, it's because they were thinking of joining the EU. This isn't about security concerns, this is about maintaining regional hegemony over Eastern Europe.


> Annexing Crimea did nothing to improve Russia's security against NATO.

Really? Russia's naval base at Sevastopol is in the Crimea. That's a very large naval base, and provides their only naval access to the Mediterranean. In order to station an old carrier off the shore of Syria, they had to sail it from the Baltic, through the English Channel, round through the Straits of Gibraltar. That must have been pretty humiliating.

It would have been smart for Ukraine to negotiate something with Russia giving them the right to continue using that naval base.


> Russia's naval base at Sevastopol is in the Crimea. That's a very large naval base, and provides their only naval access to the Mediterranean

This is incorrect on several levels. For starters there's the route you mentioned from the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibraltar. Maybe you discount that because it goes through NATO-controlled waters, but to get from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean you have to go through the Bosphorus, which is controlled by Turkey, also a NATO member. Second, Russia has several other naval bases on the Black Sea. The port of Novorossiysk, for example, is the largest port in the entire Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in all of Russia, and is not in Crimea.

> It would have been smart for Ukraine to negotiate something with Russia giving them the right to continue using that naval base.

They did in 2010: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kharkiv_Pact . Ukraine gave Russia a lease on the facility until 2047 in exchange for a discounted contract on natural gas. Russia unilaterally left the treaty after the annexation of Crimea 4 years later. As far as I can tell, the Russian Black Sea fleet has always had access to a naval base in Sevastopol, and at no point was this access threatened.

> In order to station an old carrier off the shore of Syria, they had to sail it from the Baltic, through the English Channel, round through the Straits of Gibraltar. That must have been pretty humiliating.

Their carrier is deployed with the northern fleet, and while it was built in Ukraine during the Soviet area it doesn't seem to have actually ever performed operations in the Black Sea, though it certainly could be moved there. I also don't see what about that is "humiliating".


> The port of Novorossiysk, for example, is the largest port in the entire Black Sea

Thanks - I am now better-informed.

> I also don't see what about that is "humiliating"

The ship's passage through the English Channel was constantly monitored by UK military jets, as well as by news reporters, who mocked the condition of that decrepit carrier. I don't know if Russian leadership actually felt humiliated, but I'd have been humiliated had it been me (I wouldn't have embarked on the voyage in the first place, unless I had a shiny new ship).


What sort of argument is this?

Should Denmark also invade Crimea so that it has access to the Mediterranean?


Crimea was a Russian-speaking region of Ukraine before the coup. It's still mainly ethnic-Russian. It was a favourite holiday destination for Russians. It adjoins Russia (well, almost). I'm not aware that Ukraine is fighting Russians in the Crimea; they seem to have surrendered it. I guess they decided that the Crimean population weren't in favour of Ukrainian control, and so it wasn't worth the candle.

What's Denmark got to do with anything? Denmark has zero interests in the Crimea.


So then you admit that your argument about Mediterranean access is irrelevant.


So, is the 1994 security agreement about the withdraw of nuclear weapons from Ukraine and signed by Russia toilet-paper as well? They are the only signatary that actually violated Ukraine's territorial integrity.


As far as I am aware there is no signed international agreement that NATO would not extend into Eastern European countries like Ukraine. This is wishful thinking on behalf of Putin and an attempt to put themselves into a victim role.

If Russia wants less NATO troops close to their borders then they should consider not invading their neighbours.


NATO bases appeared at Russia's borders way before any invasion happened. In fact, all NATO furtherance's were done at the time when Russia was in its weakest state, democratic and still trying to play nice to the West.


> The US made an agreement under George HW Bush that they would not extend the boundaries of the NATO area beyond West(!) Germany.

Is this what you're talking about? https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/05/myths-and-misconception...

> However, Gorbachev neither asked for nor was given any formal guarantees that there would be no further expansion of NATO beyond the territory of a united Germany.34 The issue was not even under discussion at NATO at the time, since the Warsaw Pact and the USSR were both still in existence. Even if the Warsaw Pact’s days were clearly numbered, there was no expectation in Western capitals in the autumn of 1990 that the USSR would collapse a year later.

Compare with https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/russia...

> As early as December 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin wrote to NATO leaders saying that his country would join the Alliance some time in the future. Yeltsin’s successor Vladimir Putin, hinted during his first presidential term that Russia could become a full fledged member of the Atlantic Alliance.


> Russian troops are still in Russia except the ones that are not.

ayyy, the gymnastics

> I'm not defending...

nah, you're excusing


> nah, you're excusing

You can put it that way, if you like ad-hominem attacks based on forged "quotes". I'm actually pretty angry with Russian military incursions into their neighbours, and I'm glad they withdrew quickly from Kazakhstan.

But I think NATO should have disbanded when the Warsaw Pact disbanded. It has no business operating in e.g. the Middle East. The West has acted provocatively, and it's no surprise if Russia is provoked.


are we still talking about the current time invasion of ukraine or are we going to what-about this thread?


Wow, first time I ever got a maximum -4 downvote (maybe many more). Maybe it was because of rude remarks about toilet-paper. Well, hands up - it was phrased provocatively. Sorry.


I'm not making any opinion - I'm merely answering the question about what OP was referring to the confused question asker.


More like the US put a gun on Russian head and told them "we can hurt you more than you can hurt us".

Russia infrastructure is old and the country is very corrupt. Wouldn't be surprised there was a "proof of concept" to show they mean business.


The US has not gun at the moment. They have their own share of problems with China and any conflict in Europe is not in their interest. Not saying that Russia has all the card or anything like that too.


> US has not gun at the moment. They have their own share of problems with China and any conflict in Europe is not in their interest

We don’t want conflict in Europe. But we’re capable of sustaining it.

We won’t go to war over Ukraine, but we’ll economically cripple Russia, at great pain to ourselves and our allies, and line its borders with strike weapons if that happens. Because if Russia can break the agreements it signed as recently as 1994 it’s not unfeasible that it goes for Finland or even the Baltics next.

Putin isn’t bluffing. But he’s more likely to die in power if Russia doesn’t attempt a war.


Yep, there's no shortage of European politicians to sabotage their countries' national interests to do the US/NATO bidding. After all that's how they're funded and annointed. If their local embassy doesn't give the get-go they don't have much of a chance...

And, apparently, there are fellow European citizens who still buy this charade. At least if they're from Poland or something similar easterny, it's their age old beefs with Russia/USSR that are a factor (though it's funny to see them believe Germany has their best interests at heart). But who can say why western european countries want to be the US lapdogs...


Right, we don't have an agency with a budget of $60B dedicated to signal intelligence.


Unfortunately the fact of good funding or even overfunding does not say much, really.

If you think the American people want another nation building exercise far away from us (while Germany busily buys Russia gas through Nord Stream 2 and dems block sanctions on it) think again.

A few quick points.

The US has a lot to lose here. This area is in russia's back yard, not ours. If we fight on the ground (without speaking the local language - Russian) we are back into our afghan / syria stuff.

Russia has nuclear weapons. If you say you can blow russia away think again. And again, the US has a LOT to loose, I suspect the russian populace would be able to deal with casualities etc better than the US.

When we say we are going to cut them off financially, realize that a huge amount of energy flows from Russia to Europe. And especially if they go after Ukraine then, they would have enormous control over EU energy markets. Again, not saying EU couldn't handle it, but do they have the stomach for this?

Germany BTW has shut DOWN a lot of their zero carbon nuclear power (to be "green") so they are now more dependent then ever on natural gas.

Does President Biden have the popularity and support of his caucus to start a war? Bernie Sanders is on board with this?

The US did this huffing already with Crimea.

They did this with Afghanistan where we were assured repeatedly that NO evacuation was underway while we literally watched an evacuation.

The confusing thing to me in all this is, where is Europe? France always want to be a bigger player internationally - this is a chance for the EU to demonstrate some soft or hard power if they wanted.

If there was something going on with mexico in our backyard, I can't even imagine us not getting involved (or cuba - we'd def push back on Russia putting stuff there).


The US and western Europe. While everyone blames the US, there are a lot of countries in Europe that prefer the US to Russia and are doing their own thing. They have a lot of lose if Russia takes over Ukraine.


Explain to me why this is not a European led effort? The US is thousands of miles away from this Russian border dispute.

France is always banging on about how Europe should be more respected / have a stronger defense story.

Russia has a much much BIGGER trade relationship with Europe. Where is the EU? They literally are not even in the meetings, it's kind of comical.

So the countries that are a) close, b) have economic relationships that matter etc are silent and the US administration is strutting around saying they are going to put a gun to Russia's head or whatever.

The parallel would be if Russia was going to put a missile system in Cuba, and the US just sat around, and Turkey or some country thousands of miles away started negotiating over it with Russia. Hell no - the US would be front and center in that negotiation

And BTW - this happened - the Cuban missile crisis. And the US WAS front and center there.

Russia seems to have gotten clean away with Crimea. Are there similar underlying divisions in Ukraine? Ie, a russian speaking portion and a more western half? That is exactly the type of thing they are good at exploiting, and the on the ground support for the US in part of the country may not be robust. That's a bad mix for foreign policy intervention.

I'm really hoping Biden has is head screwed on straight for this one.


That is a great question.

I doubt Europe was out of the loop, but nothing more is clear.

They could be a bystander only informed of things (which brings up your questions).

They could be letting/making the US lead for their own reasons. The following come to mind: they don't want to be seen as in charge - the US is drawing any negative attention. They can't agree on leaders and the US is better than "the other country". They want to make the US look good for reasons.

Russia could be giving all credit to the US for various reasons.

I have no idea what the truth is. It might be one of the above, it might not (my guess).


Especially considering the support US is giving its domestic hackers. Russia knows this isn’t an arms race they want to be part of. Look at our recent spin-up for maritime privateering to counter China, you know we could ramp up attacks on Russian industry and commerce with cyber too.

>More like the US put a gun on Russian head and told them "we can hurt you more than you can hurt us".

2022 US? Yeah, the President's geriatrician is right on it...


Being downvoted for having a neutral view....


I didn't downvote them, however I'm guessing the downvotes are because their statement is either false or close to it.

The US is the world's largest economy, loaded with ~$165 trillion in household assets, having persistent supply chain problems, running at 50 year highs on inflation, and it's still wildly exposed to cyber attacks despite decades of warning shots across its bow. It's exposed to almost a comically idiotic degree.

Russia can cause a lot of disruption and havoc with the US economy if it wants to. The US has three potent recourses at that point: try to unplug Russia as it pertains to the global Internet (not very effective other than to further isolation); drive chaos and civil war on its borders and attempt to flood terrorism into Russia (eg from Kazakhstan etc.), which is a dangerous proxy kinetic action toward Russia (they can swing back); pull Russia from SWIFT (they're slightly prepared for that, however it would still hurt a lot regardless) and try to more seriously isolate them globally economically (it'll drive Russia further into China's arms, which may be a mistake at this juncture; it might be better if Russia is able to independently fend off China's inevitable attempts to turn Russia into its subservient over time).

None of those are great options, although dramatically increasing global economic isolation is probably the best option.

Russia is a weak nation economically and structurally. As an entity, Russia shouldn't exist and can only be held together through a never-ending reign of authoritarian / totalitarian iron fist dictator types; it requires a constant application of severe force upon the population (eg stripping them of all media, protest and speech rights) to hold it all together, otherwise Russia would explode into numerous separate countries very rapidly. Why does that matter? It matters because we're going to keep getting an endless line of Putins, it's the only type that can operate Russia as it's presently constructed. Putin knows exactly what it takes to hold Russia together, it's the naive West that has been surprised by what he has done / what he became (golly gee, the people of Russia want freeeeedom too, they're just like us, dur dur dur - aka the early 1990s naive worldview; Russia can only be one of two things: some slight variation of what it is presently, which requires a Putin, or it has to explode into pieces).

When you're a weak nation with some potent systems you can attack a very rich superpower with, it's a huge problem for the rich superpower. It's the classic line about how if you owe someone ~$1,000, you have a problem; and if you owe someone $1 billion, they have a problem (ignoring for a moment whether it's very accurate, you get the point). If you're facing off with North Korea, trading cities in a nuclear exchange with them is a massive losing contest for the US, trading NYC for Pyongyang is not an even exchange; trading Los Angeles for Hamhung is not an even exchange; North Korea has an epic scale advantage in such a terrible exchange. Russia has a similar advantage in how it can persistently stab the US with economically damaging cyber attacks; the US will struggle greatly to find an even exchange in hitting back, because Russia is economically feeble and it's difficult to upset the Putin cart with targeted social chaos attacks (like trying to disrupt various infrastructure or supply chains for Russia to cause political problems for Putin; they'll just oppress or murder the domestic population as needed to maintain control).


Can someone explain why this is being downvoted? It seems like an honest assessment of the situation.


Honest assessment based on what ? Wishful thinking and bad reporting ?


Jep, i really had no interest to Answer that long text with thousands of errors, just to say that the NATO has no right to be aggressive towards Russia, NATO is/was meant to be a Defense force, and not an Aggressor (Nato rockets in Turkey but russian ones in Cuba)...that's a problem for Russia and Europe...meanwhile the US can lough about the stupid Union for playing so very well against his neighbor(Russia) and for the empire(US).

>"As an entity, Russia shouldn't exist"

I do not downvote any posts on principle but statements like the one above belong to lunatics in my opinion.


It's absolutely borderline...

[flagged]


Fake news. Show us some proof. Can’t trust words anymore




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