Russia-Ukraine war: Putin is losing information war in Ukraine, UK spy chief says – live news

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Amid fears that Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, world leaders have called to urgently secure the site.

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The UN secretary general called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces and equipment.

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António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding:

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We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

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“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, agreement is urgently needed to re-establish Zaporizhzhia’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area,” Guterres said.

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Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he agreed with Guterres on a framework for a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to inspect the power plant.

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The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added:

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We are worried. We don’t want another Chornobyl.”

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Ukraine’s military intelligence has warned that Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant they control.

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Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it was concerned that Russia had plans to stage an incident at the plant on Friday, and had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site.

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Russian state media had already accused Ukraine of planning a “provocation” at the plant to coincide with the UN secretary general’s visit to Ukraine, raising fears that Russia’s military could be planning a “false-flag attack”. When António Guterres travelled to Kyiv in April, Moscow carried out an airstrike on the city.

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On Wednesday, Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrsky, said Ukraine must “prepare for all scenarios”, during a drill for emergency workers in Zaporizhzhia.

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Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, also warned Russia’s seizure of the plant had “raised the risk of a nuclear accident or incident” and accused Moscow of being “reckless” by using the area as a staging platform to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces.

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Russia said it may shut down the plant, claiming backup support systems had been damaged in strikes. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radioactive, chemical and biological defence force, said if there was an accident at the site, radioactive material would cover Poland, Germany and Slovenia.

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Russia has failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine almost six months after its invasion of the country, the head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service has said.

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Jeremy Fleming, the intelligence head, said both countries have been using their cyber capabilities in the war in Ukraine. In an op-ed in The Economist on Friday, he wrote:

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\n

So far, president Putin has comprehensively lost the information war in Ukraine and in the west. Although that’s cause for celebration, we should not underestimate how Russian disinformation is playing out elsewhere in the world.

\n

Just as with its land invasion, Russia’s initial online plans appear to have fallen short. The country’s use of offensive cyber tools has been irresponsible and indiscriminate.”

\n

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Fleming said Russia had deployed WhisperGate malware to destroy and deface Ukrainian government systems.

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He also said Russia has used the same playbook before on Syria and the Balkans and said online disinformation is a major part of Russia’s strategy. However, the GCHQ has been able to intercept and to provide warnings in time, he said.

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Without going into much detail, Fleming said the UK’s National Cyber Force could respond to Russia by deploying a UK military unit that employs offensive cyber tools.

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Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

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I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while. Whether you’ve been following our coverage overnight or you’ve just dropped in, here are the latest lines.

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Russia has failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine almost six months after its invasion of the country, the head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service has said.

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The UN secretary general has called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the site and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

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It is 7am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

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  • Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s military intelligence has warned. Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it was concerned that Russia had plans to stage an incident at the plant on Friday, and had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site.

  • \n

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  • The UN secretary general has called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces from the site. António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.” Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he agreed with Guterres on a framework for a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to inspect the power plant. “We are worried. We don’t want another Chornobyl,” the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added.

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  • At least 17 people were killed and 42 injured in two separate Russian attacks on Kharkiv, according to its regional governor. Three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in a pre-dawn rocket strike on Thursday, after an attack from Russia the day before. “As of now, 17 people have died in Kharkiv … and 42 people have been injured,” Oleh Synehubov said, describing the attacks as “an act of terrorism”.

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  • Two Russian villages were evacuated after a fire broke out at an ammunition depot near the border with Ukraine on Thursday, local authorities said. An ammunition depot caught fire near the village of Timonovo, less than 50km (30 miles) from the Ukrainian border in Belgorod province, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement.

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  • The US is readying about $800m of additional military aid to Ukraine and could announce it as soon as Friday, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. President Joe Biden would authorise the assistance using his presidential drawdown authority, which allows the president to authorise the transfer of excess weapons from US stocks.

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  • The Russian military announced that it has deployed warplanes armed with state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to the country’s Kaliningrad region, a move that has been broadly interpreted as a response to the west arming Ukraine.

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  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy took over a major news conference after becoming irked by a interpreter’s failure to translate his comments properly into English. Zelenskiy acted after the interpreter cut short his remarks during an event with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and United Nations secretary general António Guterres.

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  • Zelenskiy confirmed that Ukraine has not changed its position on peace negotiations, saying talks with Russia are only possible if Russian forces leave illegally occupied territory in Ukraine.

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  • Estonia has been hit by extensive cyber-attacks after removing a Soviet-era tank monument from a region whose population is predominantly ethnic Russians, its government said. Estonia’s foreign minister also defended his country’s decision to bar Russian tourists.

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Key events

Calls to secure Russian-held nuclear plant

Amid fears that Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, world leaders have called to urgently secure the site.

The UN secretary general called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces and equipment.

António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding:

We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

A Ukrainian emergency ministry rescuer seen during a training exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on 17 August in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
A Ukrainian emergency ministry rescuer seen during a training exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on 17 August in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, agreement is urgently needed to re-establish Zaporizhzhia’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area,” Guterres said.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he agreed with Guterres on a framework for a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to inspect the power plant.

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added:

We are worried. We don’t want another Chornobyl.”

Russia to stage ‘provocation’ at nuclear plant, Ukraine says

Emma Graham-Harrison

Emma Graham-Harrison

Ukraine’s military intelligence has warned that Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant they control.

Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it was concerned that Russia had plans to stage an incident at the plant on Friday, and had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site.

Russian state media had already accused Ukraine of planning a “provocation” at the plant to coincide with the UN secretary general’s visit to Ukraine, raising fears that Russia’s military could be planning a “false-flag attack”. When António Guterres travelled to Kyiv in April, Moscow carried out an airstrike on the city.

Russian forces may be preparing to stage a ‘provocation’ at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant they control, Ukraine warns.
Russian forces may be preparing to stage a ‘provocation’ at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant they control, Ukraine warns. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrsky, said Ukraine must “prepare for all scenarios”, during a drill for emergency workers in Zaporizhzhia.

Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, also warned Russia’s seizure of the plant had “raised the risk of a nuclear accident or incident” and accused Moscow of being “reckless” by using the area as a staging platform to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces.

Russia said it may shut down the plant, claiming backup support systems had been damaged in strikes. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radioactive, chemical and biological defence force, said if there was an accident at the site, radioactive material would cover Poland, Germany and Slovenia.

Putin is losing information war in Ukraine, UK spy chief says

Russia has failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine almost six months after its invasion of the country, the head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service has said.

Jeremy Fleming, the intelligence head, said both countries have been using their cyber capabilities in the war in Ukraine. In an op-ed in The Economist on Friday, he wrote:

So far, president Putin has comprehensively lost the information war in Ukraine and in the west. Although that’s cause for celebration, we should not underestimate how Russian disinformation is playing out elsewhere in the world.

Just as with its land invasion, Russia’s initial online plans appear to have fallen short. The country’s use of offensive cyber tools has been irresponsible and indiscriminate.”

Fleming said Russia had deployed WhisperGate malware to destroy and deface Ukrainian government systems.

He also said Russia has used the same playbook before on Syria and the Balkans and said online disinformation is a major part of Russia’s strategy. However, the GCHQ has been able to intercept and to provide warnings in time, he said.

Without going into much detail, Fleming said the UK’s National Cyber Force could respond to Russia by deploying a UK military unit that employs offensive cyber tools.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments for the next short while. Whether you’ve been following our coverage overnight or you’ve just dropped in, here are the latest lines.

Russia has failed to gain ground in cyberspace against Ukraine almost six months after its invasion of the country, the head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service has said.

The UN secretary general has called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the site and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

It is 7am in Ukraine. Here is everything you might have missed:

  • Russian forces may be preparing to stage a “provocation” at the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s military intelligence has warned. Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency said it was concerned that Russia had plans to stage an incident at the plant on Friday, and had information that staff with Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company had left the site.

  • The UN secretary general has called for an urgent withdrawal of military forces from the site. António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.” Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he agreed with Guterres on a framework for a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to inspect the power plant. “We are worried. We don’t want another Chornobyl,” the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, added.

  • At least 17 people were killed and 42 injured in two separate Russian attacks on Kharkiv, according to its regional governor. Three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in a pre-dawn rocket strike on Thursday, after an attack from Russia the day before. “As of now, 17 people have died in Kharkiv … and 42 people have been injured,” Oleh Synehubov said, describing the attacks as “an act of terrorism”.

  • Two Russian villages were evacuated after a fire broke out at an ammunition depot near the border with Ukraine on Thursday, local authorities said. An ammunition depot caught fire near the village of Timonovo, less than 50km (30 miles) from the Ukrainian border in Belgorod province, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement.

  • The US is readying about $800m of additional military aid to Ukraine and could announce it as soon as Friday, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. President Joe Biden would authorise the assistance using his presidential drawdown authority, which allows the president to authorise the transfer of excess weapons from US stocks.

  • The Russian military announced that it has deployed warplanes armed with state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to the country’s Kaliningrad region, a move that has been broadly interpreted as a response to the west arming Ukraine.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy took over a major news conference after becoming irked by a interpreter’s failure to translate his comments properly into English. Zelenskiy acted after the interpreter cut short his remarks during an event with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and United Nations secretary general António Guterres.

  • Zelenskiy confirmed that Ukraine has not changed its position on peace negotiations, saying talks with Russia are only possible if Russian forces leave illegally occupied territory in Ukraine.

  • Estonia has been hit by extensive cyber-attacks after removing a Soviet-era tank monument from a region whose population is predominantly ethnic Russians, its government said. Estonia’s foreign minister also defended his country’s decision to bar Russian tourists.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine: latest developments
Russia’s war in Ukraine: latest developments

Updated at 05.18 BST

The Guardian