Russian doctor who met Putin last week has coronavirus, state TV reports

“Everything is okay,” the RIA news agency reports. Seems legit. Read the rest

Trump and Putin to talk of ending sanctions, 'whole [Russia] thing turned out to be a hoax.”

During a call-in to 'Fox & Friends' that lasted an hour, Trump says next call is with Putin.

Hackers say they breached Russian contractor, got details on IoT hacking project for Russia spy agency

• 'Fronton' is the FSB's IoT botnet project

Russia's airborne dicketry comes close to America's shores

The world's busy shitting its pants over an impending pandemic, oil production slap-fights and the arse dropping out of the stock market right into the lap of a recession that's just a-waiting in the wings. So, Russia, being Russia, does what Russia does best: fucks with people.

Earlier today, I received an emailed statement from your pals and mine at NORAD:

NORAD intercepts Russian aircraft entering Air Defense Identification Zone

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22s, CF-18s, supported by KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, intercepted two Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday, March 9th.

The Russian aircraft entered the ADIZ north of Alaska and remained within it for approximately 4 hours. NORAD fighter aircraft escorted the TU-142s for the duration of their time in the ADIZ. The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace over the Beaufort Sea, and came as close as 50 nautical miles to the Alaskan coast. The Russian aircraft did not enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.

If you're like me, or NORAD, you probably don't dig on unexpected company. So that pair of TU-142s can go ahead and jog on.

It's pretty common for Russia to mess with the warships of other countries in international waters, send submarines to scope out undersea communication cables and buzz NATO-aligned nations. They're jerks like that. However, given the freshly rehashed bickering over sovereignty in the Arctic, thanks to global warming's opening up of once frozen shipping lanes and potential oil windfalls, having a pair of their aircraft bop by to say hi feels a little bit pushier than usual. Read the rest

'Are you real?' Putin swears he doesn't have a body double

Sure, Jan.

Trump mad that U.S. intel briefed lawmakers on Russian military attack on 2020 elections

• U.S. intelligence briefed House on Russia to ensure Trump's re-election. • Classified briefing to lawmakers made Trump angry • Trump said Democrats would “weaponize” news of Russian military campaign • Trump was mad DNI Joseph Maguire would let staff appear • That's why Maguire's out, Richard Grenell's in as 'acting' DNI.

In Washington last week, U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers that Russia is carrying out a military-grade attack on the 2020 elections, with the goal of making Americans doubt the integrity of the vote and ensure re-election for impeached, manifestly unfit and corrupt President Donald Trump, Reuters reported Thursday. Read the rest

'Sandworm' hacking group linked to Russian GRU's Main Center for Special Technology, says U.S.

U.S. State Department blames Russia for cyberattacks that hit neighboring Georgia in October 2019

By identifying Russia's digital assaults on neighbors, US hopes to raise awareness of ongoing GRU attacks on US Read the rest

Russian soldier proposes with 16 tanks in the shape of a heart on Valentine's Day

Alexandra Kopytova accepted the proposal at the barrel of a gun. Or 16 guns, technically, which were attached to a fleet of T-72B3 Soviet Battle Tanks that her now-fiance, Lieutenant Denis Kazantsev, brought in as part of an elaborate military maneuvering drill to ask his beloved's hand in marriage. From RT (because of course it's from RT):

Though Valentine’s Day is not really a Russian tradition, the spirit of the day was not lost on Kazantsev’s commanders, who gave the go-ahead for the mission at the Alabino testing grounds, southwest of Moscow. On Thursday morning, 16 tanks rolled onto the range for a maneuvering drill in which they formed two columns and lined up in a heart formation.

The mission’s success, however, hinged on the approval of one person who was neither a major nor a general. With her eyes covered, 19-year-old Alexandra was led into the middle of the formation by Denis, 23. When she opened her eyes, she saw Kazantsev kneeling with a bouquet of red roses.

"I postponed the proposal for about one month to organise all this so it would be unforgettable, once in a lifetime," Kazantsev told the Daily Mail. "It was not easy but with time my commanders agreed to let me do this."

This awkwardly-sweet-in-a-distinctly-Russian-way fairytale gets even weirder when you realize that Koptyova and Kazantsev were … actually already married. He had previously proposed on New Year's Eve 2017, at a time when they were living in separate cities, and got to enjoy a whole two weeks of marriage in St. Read the rest

Trump tweets he'll sue 'everyone all over the place' for 'total SCAM' Mueller Russia probe

On his batshit Twitter account, impeached and manifestly bonkers U.S. President Donald Trump is calling for all cases that came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be "thrown out."

Trump implied that he could bring a lawsuit over the matter. Read the rest

Ireland suspects Russia is trying to crack transatlantic fiber-optic ocean bed cables

“Russia has sent intelligence agents to Ireland to map the precise location of the fibre-optic, ocean-bed cables that connect Europe to America,” Ireland's security agency suspects, according to this report in The Times of London.

“This has raised concerns that Russian agents are checking the cables for weak points, with a view to tapping or even damaging them in the future.”

Irish security officials believe Russia may be targeting Ireland as a regional base for military intelligence operations because the country's counterintelligence abilities are limited, and Moscow presumably views Ireland as a vulnerable spot.

Additionally, various tech giants that have placed their offices in Dublin to evade U.S. taxes might be juicy targets for Vladimir Putin's corporate espionage programs.

Excerpt:

Ireland is the landing point for undersea cables which carry internet traffic between America, Britain and Europe. The cables enable millions of people to communicate and allow financial transactions to take place seamlessly.

Garda and military sources believe the agents were sent by the GRU, the military intelligence branch of the Russian armed forces which was blamed for the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer.

Read more: Russian agents plunge to new ocean depths in Ireland to crack transatlantic cables

[thetimes.co.uk] Read the rest

Moscow: Twitter and Facebook fined 4 million rubles each for refusing to store data on Russian citizens in Russia

A court in Moscow today issued fines of 4 million rubles each against Twitter and Facebook for the social media companies' refusal to store data about Russian citizens inside Russia. Read the rest

Disinformation 2020: FBI warns of ongoing Russian 'information warfare'

“They identify an issue that they know that the American people feel passionately about on both sides and then they take both sides and spin them up so they pit us against each other. And then they combine that with an effort to weaken our confidence in our elections and our democratic institutions which has been a pernicious and asymmetric way of engaging in affect information warfare.”

— FBI Director Chris Wray, Feb. 5, 2020

On Wednesday, FBI Director Chris Wray said Russia is targeting Americans with an ongoing “information warfare” campaign that is likely to intensify as the nation heads into the 2020 presidential election. Read the rest

Russian priests must stop blessing nuclear weapons, says Russian Orthodox Church patriarch

“The blessing of military weapons is not reflected in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and does not correspond to the content of the Rite,” reads a new document on the website of the Moscow patriarchate of the the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian priests should stop blessing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that can inflict indiscriminate loss of life, according to new guidelines being discussed.

It's an unusual display of independence by the church. Read the rest

Putin has no opinion on proposal to be renamed "Supreme Leader"

The Kremlin says Russian president Putin "has no view" on a proposal to change his title to "Supreme Leader," reports US News and World Report. The title is one of a number being considered by a commission formed after Putin announced his desire to change the Russian constitution. From the article:

"There are... some very curious proposals among those put forward. For instance, they proposed renaming the position of head of state to 'Supreme leader'," Pavel Krasheninnikov, the government commission's co-chair, told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government newspaper.

When asked about the idea on Wednesday, the Kremlin was non-committal, calling it a "new initiative" and one of various proposals that may or may not be implemented.

"Right now all this is at the discussion stage," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "President Putin has no view on this."

Image by Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Link Read the rest

Russia: 2 elephants escape from circus

PHOTO provided by Anna Dubrovskaya, in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. When a circus troupe tried to load the animals into a truck to head to the next destination, they resisted, and walked away.

In Russia's third-largest city, Yekaterinburg, some residents recently witnessed two elephants wandering snowy streets, after escaping from an Italian circus passing through town. Read the rest

Russian comedian who dissed Putin flees country

"I didn't plan to be persecuted simply for joking," he said.

Russian warship 'aggressively approached' US Navy destroyer in Arabian Sea

The ships came within 60 yards of a collision

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