The Dutch may reopen their gas reservoirs. Russian cyber warfare situation may escalate. Russia’s Swift access likely to be disconnected.

Further to my earlier post, the Dutch Financial Times just contained an article that talks about the Dutch possibly reopening their gas wells because of the situation with Russia:
https://fd.nl/politiek/1431494/bij-europees-gastekort-komt-heropening-groningse-velden-rap-in-beeld-szb2caJ1Sabo

Says René Peters, head of gas technology at research institute TNO.

This is seconded by David Smeulders, professor of energy technology at Eindhoven University of Technology and Rem Korteweg of the Clingendael Institute.

Two years ago, the Dutch government drew up an emergency planning for this kind of situation.

Yes, there is still gas in the Dutch gas reservoirs, but its exploitation was increasingly causing problems (earthquakes with damage to homes).

At the moment, reopening the gas wells is not actively on the agenda yet , however.

The matter of Russia’s cyber warfare against Ukraine was also addressed in yesterday’s and today’s issue of the Dutch Financial Times. Among other things, the Russians have released a virus called HermeticWiper; other countries may become affected too. Russia’s cyber warfare has already been ongoing for weeks. (They’ve been attacking banks and energy plants in Ukraine.) In fact, hacking attacks started around the time that Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

See links below. Juan-Andres Guerrero-Saade is a cybersecurity researcher at digital security firm SentinelOne.

White hats from all over the world have just been hitting back. There is concern that this may lead to retaliation from Russian cyber crime groups – one of them already stated that it would retaliate for the white hats’ DDoS attacks on Russian sites – and that the situation may escalate.

https://fd.nl/tech-en-innovatie/1431576/russische-cybersoldaten-gaan-voor-maximale-schade-tzb2caJ1Sabo

(Unfortunately, this article also calls Anonymous “benevolent”. That’s a seriously shortsighted view.)

15:23 UK time:

Russia will likely soon be disconnected from the Swift banking transfer system; only Germany is reportedly still holding back on that. This would mean that trading with Russia will become very difficult and close to impossible, though certainly governments will still have convoluted options for paying their Russian gas bills. However, there are also risks for other countries when Russia is disconnected from Swift; it may make money laundering easier and it will also likely push Russia closer to China, and play into the hands of China, as many payments might start running via China’s payment system. The ECB is investigating these risks. (Sounds like more might have to be done than just disconnecting Russia from Swift; there should also be sanctions that address paying via China. Monitoring goods streams and the possibility of more money laundering may be part of the price that needs to be paid when this step is taken. Dutch finance minister Kaag said that the fact that Europe too will be hit hard by it is worth it as it is part of the price to be paid to achieve peace and security.) The final decision has not been made yet.

https://fd.nl/economie/1431648/hoe-betaalt-nederland-de-gasrekening-als-rusland-van-swift-af-is-tzb2caJ1Sabo

After I wrote the above, I did a few web searches to see what else I could find.

The Guardian has the latter news too:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/swift-eu-leaders-line-up-to-back-banning-russia-from-banking-network

Politico does too now (6pm):
https://www.politico.eu/article/pressure-on-germany-to-drop-opposition-to-russia-swift-ban-ukraine-war/

Politico’s article mentions Germany’s fear of having its gas supply cut. This is why the matter of the Dutch gas fields came up. Other countries may put pressure on the Netherlands to reopen them.

NewScientist discussed the cyber war a few days ago:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2309369-will-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-trigger-a-massive-cyberwar/

Reuters also has an article on it and Symantec reported having spotted the virus activity in Latvia and Lithuania as well:
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukrainian-government-foreign-ministry-parliament-websites-down-2022-02-23/
What Guerrero-Saade says in this article was also echoed in the Dutch Financial Times, that these hackers are being deliberately destructive.

18:54 UK time:
Germany softens stance on Swift decision:
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/germany-favour-targeted-functional-swift-curbs-russia-minister-2022-02-26/

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