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Putin threatens supply chains with counter-sanction order
‘Certain organizations’ to be named in ten days and denied access to Russian resources
Russian president Vladimir Putin has authorized retaliatory sanctions against individuals and organizations that have taken action over the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
An executive order issued on Tuesday explains that Russia will implement reprisals against states and international organizations that have acted against Russian interests in the wake of the invasion.
As many of Russia's likely targets have walked away from the nation, one element of the counter-sanctions – annulment of commercial agreements – won’t trouble some of those that feel Putin's ire.
But the sanctions will also include "a ban on exporting products or raw materials manufactured or extracted in Russia when they are delivered to individuals under sanctions, or by individuals under sanctions to other individuals."
That could be serious. Many nations rely on Russian energy exports and could not easily replace them – although if Russia were to stop selling energy to all takers it would also be cutting off a major source of its own revenue.
A raw materials ban could also bite, as Russia is a source of many minerals and other substances of importance to high technology manufacturing supply chains. For example, Russia is an important source of the neon gas that's necessary during chip manufacturing processes.
Just what Putin has planned will be revealed within ten days – the deadline the order sets for Russia's government to publish a list of banned entities.
While the world waits for that list, Ukraine appears to be contending with a new Russian threat in cyberspace: the loss of some routes to the internet, and their replacement by services from Russian carrier Rostelecom.
Internet-watching service NetBlocks offered the following observations:
⚠️ Confirmed: Metrics indicate that internet connectivity on provider Skynet (Khersontelecom) in Russian-occupied Kherson, south Ukraine, has been partially restored and rerouted via Russia's Rostelecom instead of Ukrainian infrastructure.— NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 1, 2022
📰 Background: https://t.co/S0qJQ7CbNv pic.twitter.com/WhlSNODuqw
Just how or why routes were changed is not known, but there are clear advantages to Russia if a state-aligned telco can observe and/or control traffic to and from Ukraine.
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Happily, Ukraine may have found an alternative the Moscow cannot control: SpaceX’s StarLink satellite broadband services. Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, on Monday shared the following information about uptake of the service:
Rough data on Starlink's usage: around 150K active users per day. This is crucial support for Ukraine's infrastructure and restoring the destroyed territories. Ukraine will stay connected no matter what. pic.twitter.com/XWjyxPQJyX— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) May 2, 2022
He also shared news of repairs to Ukraine's telecoms infrastructure in locations near its capital city Kyiv. ®
Base station in Pripyat, Kyiv region. Telecom soldiers continue to restore the internet connection, so you can call your dearest people. pic.twitter.com/jlbCaOBL2R— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) May 3, 2022