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Cyber Operations in Russia’s War against Ukraine

One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Matthias Schulze and Mika Kerttunen put certain assumptions about the utility of cyber operations during wartime to the test.

Russian cyber salvos opened this war, but they failed to achieve their objectives in the face of a resilient cyber defender. Joint cyber/conventional warfighting is still hard to implement due to its uncertain effects, the potential for spill-over, malware development cycles, and differing operational tempos. Cyber operations against Ukraine have not (yet) achieved major strategic effects in reducing Ukraine’s capacity to resist. Additionally, Russian information operations targeting Ukrainian and Western audiences fell on deaf ears. The greatest value of cyber operations therefore still appears to lie in their intelligence and reconnaissance functions.


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