“Ukrainians! … All information about you has been announced. Fear and expect the worst. It is your past, your present and your future.” With this message, the website of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry woke up on Friday, the target of a coordinated attack on various organs of the Kiev government. With a map of the country crossed out, the message still refers to the “historic land” that Ukraine represents to the Russians.
After negotiations between NATO, the United States and Russia failed, Ukraine became the target of an intense cyberattack. On Friday, the websites of ministries and public authorities stopped.
The country that was part of the Soviet Union is at the center of the tension between the West and Moscow. The Kremlin claims that Americans and Europeans are violating a promise they made in the 1990s that there would be no NATO expansion in the former communist bloc countries that Russia considers its sphere of influence.
However, the US government rejects this hypothesis and insists that all countries have the sovereignty to decide which alliance they want to join. For Washington, this principle also applies to Kiev. Tensions rose to a new level after the Russians deployed more than 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border, prompting the White House to warn that it would impose sanctions on Vladimir Putin if any sign of aggression was identified.
The crisis has now taken on a new chapter with cyber attacks. In Kiev, diplomats admit that they do not know the source of the aggression. But they point out that the Russians have participated in similar events in the past. In the middle of Ukraine’s harsh winter of 2015, alleged Russian hackers left 250,000 Ukrainians without electricity and therefore without heating.
On Friday, the Ukrainian government described the event as a “major cyber attack” and indicated that the police had opened an investigation. But it ensures that data is not stolen.
The attack prompted European diplomacy to convene an emergency meeting, while governments across the region expressed solidarity with the Kiev authorities. The European Union condemned these actions, without indicating the possibility of Russian involvement, and promised to support the Ukrainian authorities, including with resources.
“Unfortunately, we knew this could happen,” said Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy. “I can’t blame anyone because I have no proof.” But we can imagine that.”
Since the beginning of the week, various governments have warned of the need for a firm response on the part of Europe in the face of Russian aggression.
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