Hackers have targeted dozens of Ukrainian government websites, advising people to “be afraid and prepare for the worst.”
During the attack, hackers seized control of the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers, and Security and Defense Council, displaying a message in Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish.”Be scared and prepare for the worst. All your data has gone public.” The hackers declared, “This is for your past, present, and future.”
Several government websites were hacked during the massive cyberattack, including the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officials in Kyiv have not revealed who is responsible for the intrusion, although similar attacks in Ukraine have been blamed on Russian hackers in the past. During a brief war between Moscow and Tbilisi over South Ossetia in 2008, similar cyber methods were used against Georgian official websites. Sandworm, a Russian hacker outfit, also attacked Ukraine’s power grid in 2015.
The strikes come at a time when tensions with Moscow are at an all-time high, with over 100,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, backed by tanks and artillery, in what some fear is a prelude to invasion. The Kremlin has denied that it is planning an invasion of Ukraine.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top diplomat, condemned the cyberattack and promised to mobilise resources to assist in the restoration of computer systems. “I can’t blame anyone because I don’t have proof,” Borrell remarked, implying that he was referring to Russia.
In connection with computer attacks against Ukraine and Georgia, the US Department of Justice accused six hackers alleged to be personnel in Russia’s military intelligence division in 2020.
Russia has ratcheted up its long-standing demand that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that earned independence after the USSR fell apart at the conclusion of the Cold War, never join NATO. In the case of Georgia, the Kremlin has made a similar demand.
During meetings in Vienna and Brussels this week, Russian envoys and European and NATO leaders appear to have made little progress toward settling the disputes.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR’s All Something Considered on Thursday that the US is fully prepared for a Russian invasion of Ukraine and is prepared to take “actions that we have never done before” if necessary
“It may well be that he’s not determined on what he’s going to do,” Blinken said of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Blinken, “I believe we must play a crucial role in influencing his thinking and making clear what the possibilities are and what the ramifications of the choices he made,” he said.
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