Lauren Moye, FISM News
The Russian-Ukraine war began its fourth day this morning with both escalation and some dim hope that the end of the conflict might be nearing. The Ukrainian people remain courageous under the threat of terror. Meanwhile, private corporations play an important role in undermining Russia’s misinformation campaign.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported this morning that Russia had agreed to peace talks at the Belarusian border without any preconditions. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his deterrence forces on high alert, blaming the U.S. and NATO’s economic sanctions for the need to potentially involve nuclear-armed troops.
This morning, Kharkiv Regional Governor Oleh Sinegubov announced one military setback for Russia concerning the northeastern Ukraine city. After engaging in a fierce fight with Russian tanks and exchanging artillery blows overnight, the governor asserted on Telegram this morning, “Control over Kharkiv is completely ours! The armed forces, the police, and the defense forces are working, and the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy.”
Similarly, Zelenskyy has claimed that Russian forces were held back in the capital city of Kyiv. That didn’t stop the former-comedian turned President from a grim address to his nation. Zelenskyy said through a video message, “This is terror. They are going to bomb our Ukrainian cities even more; they are going to kill our children even more subtly. This is the evil that has come to our land and must be destroyed.”
The war has been costly on both sides, but the Ukrainian people and soldiers remain defiant. One example of this indomitable spirit could be seen when Ukrainian Marine battalion engineer Vitaly Skakun Volodymyrovych killed himself to prevent Russian tanks from crossing into Ukraine. After mining the bridge that spanned from the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula to the Ukraine side, the soldier made the call to blow the bridge despite not being able to get himself to safety.
“Our brother was killed. His heroic act significantly slowed down the push of the enemy, allowing the unit to relocate and organize the defense,” a statement from the Ukrainian military read about the incident.
The conflict has also created a new element to large-scale warfare as private companies become increasingly involved in the conflict. These actions help undermine the Russian narrative which helps prevent them from disrupting morale.
On Thursday, Meta placed restrictions on four Russian-owned media outlets: RIA news agency, the Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV, and websites gazeta.ru and lenta.ru. When Meta refused to stop fact-checking information sourced from Russia on their biggest platform, Facebook, Russia announced a retaliatory plan.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX which controls the Starlink internet satellite fleet, did his part to help the Ukranian people when he responded to a plea for help from Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, yesterday.
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022
The fighting in the Southern and Eastern parts of Ukraine has disrupted internet connectivity for those regions, according to internet monitors. This fanned concerns for the safety of citizens who are cut off from friends and family and grants greater control of the narrative to Putin.
Musk tweeted, “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”
Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, restricted access to downloads of Russian media apps and blocked certain Youtube channels within Ukraine after receiving a request from Kyiv this morning. Reuters reported this morning that Russia state communications regulator Roskomnadzor has since asked Alphabet to restore these connections. There has not yet been a response to this counter-request.
Notably, the President of Russian still has a working Twitter account, while President Trump remains banned on that same social media site.