Ukraine suspects Russian secret service of being behind cyberattack

NOTfter the cyberattack on dozens of Ukrainian government websites, Kyiv sees “first indications” of possible Russian intelligence involvement. Ukraine’s secret service has “received early indications that hacker groups associated with the Russian secret service” may be behind the massive cyberattack, Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Twitter on Friday evening. . Meanwhile, the United States and Britain have warned that Moscow could create a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin dismissed the allegation as “baseless”.

In view of a massive deployment of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, the West fears that Russia is currently planning an invasion of the neighboring country after annexing Crimea in 2014. The massive cyberattack against government websites in Kyiv on Friday evening raised further concerns.

Ukrainian secret service: No disclosure of personal data

Ukraine’s SBU secret service said a total of 70 government websites were attacked. In 10 cases, there was “falsification”, but the content was not altered and no personal data was disclosed. The Foreign Ministry website temporarily read the words “Be afraid and expect the worst” in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also said it was “conceivable” that Russia was behind the cyberattack. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg expressed concern that this could be a harbinger of military activity.

Meanwhile, the United States has said it understands Russia is trying to create a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine. “We have information that Russia has already deployed a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” government spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Moscow’s aim is to accuse Ukraine of “preparing an imminent attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine”. Russian forces plan to start these activities a few weeks before a military invasion, which could begin “between mid-January and mid-February”. Washington’s statements sparked outrage in Moscow and were dismissed by both the Russian Embassy in Washington and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Roth: A discussion on the provision of protective devices is possible

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Saturday accused Russia of a disinformation campaign targeting Ukraine. This should destabilize the country and justify an invasion, the minister said. “Russia must stop its aggression, de-escalate and open up to serious talks,” she tweeted on Saturday.

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Meanwhile, the will to support Ukraine with certain military goods has grown within the traffic light coalition. “We agreed in the coalition agreement not to deliver arms to crisis regions. The principle applies,” said the chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael Roth (SPD), of the RND. However, a discussion of “protective devices such as helmets and protective vests” is “conceivable”.

Extensive crisis diplomacy was launched this week to defuse the situation on the Ukrainian border: first there were bilateral talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva, then the NATO-Russia Council meeting for the first time in two years, there were negotiations within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

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