All-out cyber warfare, nationwide forced power outages, and targeted disruption of internet services – for one of the Kremlin’s greatest propagandists, all of these tactics are fair in what she describes as a war destined to come against the United States
“War [with the U.S.] is inevitable, ”said Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of state-funded RT and Sputnik media, who believes conflict will erupt when, and not if, Putin sets out to seize more territory from Ukraine .
As Russia’s military build-up at Ukraine’s gates deepens, Kremlin loyalists have urged even more overt aggression and bloodshed in the campaign to annex Ukraine’s Donbass region. The only thing standing in the way, they say, is US support for its besieged neighbor.
The club of G7 countries, which includes the United States, issued a joint statement on Monday calling for an end to the build-up of Russian troops on the border with the disputed territory of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, recalling the rise in power before the annexation of Crimea by Russia. in 2014. The United States underscored this with the deployment of two warships in the Black Sea.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened reprisals on Tuesday. “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their good, ”he said.
The escalation was announced on state television Sunday evening with Vladimir Soloviev during the weekend. Simonyan explained that it was time for Russia to prepare for a confrontation with the United States and prophesied a kind of war motivated by hacking, forced disruption of internet access, cutting off power supplies. and a total offensive against the United States. Infrastructure.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a full-scale hot war, like WWII, and I don’t think there will be a long cold war. It will be a war of the third kind: cyber warfare, ”said Simonyan.
She warned that – in this theoretical battle – the United States would plot to cut the power to entire Russian cities. In turn, she speculated, Moscow would be able to force a blackout in Florida or Harlem with the flip of a switch.
“In a conventional war, we could defeat Ukraine in two days,” said Simonyan, “but it will be a different kind of war. We will, and then [the U.S.] respond by cutting off the power [the Russian city] Voronezh, ”she said.
RT’s senior editor claimed that “[Russia] must be ready for this war, which is inevitable, and of course it will start in Ukraine, ”arguing that the Kremlin is“ invincible when it comes to conventional warfare, but forget about conventional war … it will be an infrastructure war, and here we have many vulnerabilities. ”
Its solution is Stalinist-style measures to eliminate “vulnerabilities” in the prospect of further escalation, underscoring the need for a hack-proof, government-controlled Internet. “We still don’t have a sovereign Internet, but God willing, we will,” she said.
She wholeheartedly endorsed a suggestion by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of one of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, who argued that all Russian opposition must be eliminated by May 1, 2021. With the leader of the opposition imprisoned Alexei Navalny on hunger strike – and suffering from serious health problems after being denied proper medical treatment – the Kremlin appears firmly on this path.
Simonyan argued that once Russia downplays its vulnerabilities and renders Putin’s opposition powerless – which she believes could happen in a matter of months – the Kremlin will finally be ready to annex Ukraine’s eastern region. .
“I waved and even demanded that we take the Donbass. We have to fix our vulnerabilities as fast as possible, and then we can do whatever we want, ”she said boldly. Host Vladimir Soloviev fully agreed: “We only lose if we do nothing.” He argued that by absorbing parts of Ukraine – or the country as a whole – Russia would be able to push America’s area of influence further away from its borders.
As one of the Kremlin’s most beloved propagandists, Margarita Simonyan is notoriously close to the Russian president and has received several awards directly from Vladimir Putin. After accepting one of these awards in 2019, Simonyan thanked Putin “for the most important award in life … this honor of serving his homeland.”
Her “service” involved disinformation operations by RT and Sputnik aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which she often brags about by highlighting the inclusion of her name in various U.S. intelligence reports.
Russia’s recent activities in cyberspace appear to serve as good practice for the “inevitable war” announced by Simonyan.
Last year, six Russian intelligence operatives were indicted by the United States for using the world’s most destructive malware to force blackouts in Ukraine and damage critical infrastructure in several countries. which caused losses of almost a billion dollars. On Monday, hackers operating from Russia targeted the French home education platform.
The Kremlin is ready to step up its offensive against the West, but fears the retaliation that would ensue. The idea of a bulletproof “sovereign Internet” – entirely under government control within Russian borders – is already in the books, with Moscow having introduced the idea as a preventive measure against attempts to retaliatory hacking from other nations.
Simonyan argued that Russia would certainly be able to exploit America’s “catastrophic” educational standards, and called US military analysts and specialists incompetent and stupid. She laughed heartily when she learned that more than 200,000 US service members suffered hearing loss from defective earplugs.
“We can never make an agreement with [Americans]Simonyan said, arguing that instead, Russia can just as easily defeat the United States in a cyberspace war.
She added mockingly: “We don’t even need nuclear weapons.”
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