Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Speaking as part of his traditional televised ‘Direct Line’ question-and-answer session with the public on Wednesday, Putin dismissed the idea of a summit.
“Why should I meet Zelensky?” the Russian leader asked. “If he has given up his country to full external control, the key issues about life in Ukraine are resolved not in Kiev but in Washington, and, to some extent, in Berlin and Paris. What then would we talk about?"
He added that he would not “refuse a meeting of this kind,” but said he would have to first “understand what we could talk about.”
In April this year, Zelensky invited Putin to meet for negotiations “anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass, where a war is taking place.” He later said such a summit would be “inevitable.”
Putin replied at the time that he would host Zelensky in Moscow to work on repairing bilateral relations. However, he added, Russia would not discuss the war-torn Donbass region without the participation of the leaders of the two self-proclaimed breakaway People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, whose forces have been fighting pitched battles with Kiev’s own troops.
Earlier this year, the leader of Ukraine’s largest parliamentary opposition bloc, Viktor Medvedchuk, used an exclusive interview with RT to accuse Zelensky of turning the country into an American “colony” with “external governance” having been imposed. Medvedchuk is now facing high-treason charges linked to supposed business interests in Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was operating in sync with a British destroyer during last week's Black Sea incident in what he described as a "provocation" to test Moscow's response.
Moscow said one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of British destroyer Defender on June 23 to force it out of an area near the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Britain denied that account, insisted its ship wasn't fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.
Asked if the incident could have triggered World War III, Putin said that it was hardly possible even if Russia had sunk the British warship because Western powers knew they couldn't emerge as winners in a global conflict.
Speaking during a live call-in show, Putin said that the U.S. aircraft's apparent mission was to monitor the Russian military's response to the British destroyer. He added that Moscow was aware of the U.S. intentions and responded accordingly to avoid revealing sensitive data.
In Wednesday's incident, Britain insisted the Defender had been making a routine journey through an internationally recognized travel lane and remained in Ukrainian waters near Crimea. The U.K., like most of the world, recognizes Crimea as part of Ukraine despite the peninsula's 2014 annexation by Russia.
In this month’s two-week training exercise, troops across the New England region practiced tackling large-scale simulated violations across critical infrastructure sectors such as electricity, water, and gas.
In this exercise, a large-scale cyberattack targeted utilities on the west coast and then moved eastward across the country.
As in the actual scenario, the National Guard works with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity and infrastructure security agencies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, government agencies such as the US Cybercommand, and utility partners in the private sector. And respond to the crisis.
This crisis was a simulation, but such attacks are becoming more and more possible.
A recent series of catastrophic attacks has sent warning signs about the risks that cybersecurity breaches can pose to the country’s infrastructure.
When the Colonial Pipeline was targeted by hackers in May, it had to shut down its entire network, which carries 45% of all fuel to the East Coast, causing a nationwide fuel crisis with rising gas prices.
A few weeks later, the food supply chain was hit when hackers led to a four-day closure of a factory belonging to America’s largest beef supplier, JBS.
After the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline shook the country’s fuel supply, the National Guard is preparing for a major cyberattack that shuts down utilities across the United States.