Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 1:21 PM

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In a statement on Monday, President Biden warned that Russia will likely wage cyberattacks against the United States in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. in response to the invasion of Ukraine, reports the New York Times. Despite no evidence of a specific, credible potential cyberattack, security officials in the Biden administration warned of Russian “preparatory activity” for an attack on U.S. critical infrastructure. Additionally, Biden urged private sector companies to bolster cybersecurity efforts and protections in the coming weeks to safeguard against potential attacks on Russia. 

Ukrainian forces reportedly regained control of Makariv, a town 30 miles west of Kyiv, writes CNN. According to a post on Facebook from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the “state flag Ukraine was raised over the city of Makariv as the Russians retreated.” Makariv has experienced consistent airstrikes by Russian forces—including in civilian areas such as apartment complexes and schools—and has been largely destroyed because of the Russian missile blasts. 

The United States will send Ukraine Soviet-made air defense equipment it secretly acquired years ago to help strengthen efforts to ward off Russian air and missile attacks, according to the Wall Street Journal. The decades-old equipment is familiar to the Ukrainian military, so personnel should be able to use the systems effectively and efficiently. The arsenal of Soviet-made air-defense systems is said to include the S-300, SA-10 and SA-8. 

Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader and outspoken critic of the Kremlin was sentenced to nine more years in prison on charges of fraud and contempt of court, according to the Wall Street Journal. Navalny’s supporters claim that the new charges were brought against him on the orders of Vladimir Putin in an attempt to silence him. A Russian judge ruled that Navalny was guilty of stealing donations from the Anti-Corruption Foundation—a non-profit organization that he founded and later banned by the Russian government as an “extremist” organization. A spokesperson for Navalny said, “There is no doubt that the decision to arrest Navalny was made by Putin personally. At first he tried to kill Alexei, and when he failed, he decided to keep him in prison forever.”

Australia announced that it has created a new military branch called the Space Command to address and counter threats from China, Russia and other extraterrestrial powers, reports the New York Times. According to Australia's defense minister, the Space Command is intended to expand the country’s space capabilities and contribute to a “a larger, collective effort among like-minded countries to ensure a safe, stable and secure space domain.” The defense minister also announced a partnership with the United States’ Space Force on a “broad range of satellite activities.” 

A Chinese Eastern Airlines flight with 132 people on board crashed in southern China, writes Reuters. Passengers on flight MU5735 were traveling from Kunming to Guangzhou when it nose-dived from cruising altitude to crash in the mountains of Guangxi. Rescuers were deployed in and around the crash site today to search for survivors. Chinese officials have yet to determine the cause of the crash. 

“Cowboys for Trump” leader Couy Griffin was convicted of a misdemeanor charge for his participation in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Business Insider. Video evidence presented by federal prosecutors in court showed Griffin climbing a bike ramp and a makeshift plywood ramp when approaching the Capitol building. Griffin was found guilty of trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, but was acquitted of a separate disorderly conduct charge. Griffin faces up to a year in prison for his crime. 

Officials in Miami Beach, Florida declared a state of emergency and will impose a curfew after a weekend of violence, reports the Hill. According to the city’s mayor, five people were shot in the past few days. The mayor insinuated that the violence was the result of chaos caused by college students partying on spring break. She said, “We didn’t ask for spring break and we don’t want it.” 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz spoke with Alex Finley about #YachtWatch, Finley’s effort to track down and monitor the movements of massive yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs.

Alexander Herkert, Yang Liu, Angela Nguyen and Megan Scott-Busenbark compiled a reader’s guide to several of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s rulings on national security law to see what they might reveal about her views on issues relevant to Lawfare readers.

Katherine Pompilio announced this week’s Lawfare Live in which Molly Reynolds will answer any and all of your questions related to Congress. 

Samantha Lai shared an episode of TechTank in which she, Jessica Brandt and Emerson Brooking discussed the roles of technology and disinformation in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how social media companies and the American government have responded.

Alvaro Marañon posted the White House statement and briefing warning of “evolving intelligence” that suggests the “Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks” against the United States.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

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