Hack on ministry sites comes as Russia moves more troops near Ukraine and talks with West Stahl
Ukraine’s security service said the content of the sites was not changed and that no personal data was leaked. Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on who might be responsible for the hack. Kiev and its Western backers have accused Russia of regularly launching cyberattacks on Ukraine in an attempt to destabilize the country. Russia has denied this.
The hack comes as Russia has gathered thousands of troops around Ukraine and demanded from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization a binding guarantee never to grant membership to the former Soviet republic. Moscow began moving tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, rocket launchers and other military equipment westward this week from its bases in the Far East, Businesshala reports.
The US and its allies held talks with Russia this week to try to de-escalate tensions, but to no avail.
NATO has warned Russia against propaganda and cyber attacks to destabilize Ukraine, which is seeking integration with the West.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack on Friday. He said the alliance has been helping Ukraine enhance cyber security for many years and that NATO experts are working with their Ukrainian counterparts to counter the attack.
Mr Stoltenberg said in the coming days NATO and Ukraine would sign an agreement to further boost cyber cooperation, including “Ukraine’s access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform.”
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers in France that the bloc would “mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine deal with this cyberattack.” He said he did not have proof of who was responsible “but we can imagine.”
Moscow says Ukraine is part of its sphere of influence and has used military, economic and other measures to bring its neighbor closer. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and carved out two self-proclaimed separatist states that have since been at war with the government in Kiev.
Ukraine’s security service said it was investigating the attack, and that most of its effects had been treated. As of midday in Kiev, the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was still down.
The message on the website, after it was deleted, referred to Ukrainian rebel fighters during World War II, revered by some in Ukraine for fighting the Nazis and the Soviet Union, as “fascists” by Russia. Reprimanded and criticized for the massacre of Poles.
Write James Marson at [email protected]