Massive Cyberattack Hits Ukraine Government Sites

Kyiv tells its citizens to flee Russia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2022 1:13 PM CST
Massive Cyberattack Hits Ukraine Government Sites
Russian armored vehicles are loaded onto railway platforms at a railway station in region not far from Russia-Ukraine border, in the Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.   (AP Photo)

Yet another ominous sign in Ukraine: Government and banking websites in the country were taken down Wednesday in what the country's digital minister describes as a massive cyberattack, Politico reports. The targets included Ukraine's defense, foreign, and interior ministries, though many of the websites affected were soon back online again. The cyberattack follows a similar one last week and one in January in which the hackers warned Ukrainians to "expect the worst." Analysts believe the cyberattacks, and others dating back to the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, are the work of Moscow's military intelligence agency, reports the AP. In other developments:

  • Ukraine says army is ready. With fears of all-out war rising, the head of Ukraine's national security and defense council said Wednesday that "our army is ready" to counter a Russian attack, the New York Times reports. Military reservists have been called up.
  • State of emergency declared. Reuters reports that Ukraine declared a state of emergency Wednesday and told its citizens to get out of Russia immediately. Moscow, meanwhile, began evacuating personnel from its embassy in Kyiv. Emergency regulations expected to take effect in Ukraine Thursday could include restrictions on freedom of movement for men of fighting age.

  • Warnings of an imminent attack. The Guardian reports that warnings of an imminent Russian attack have been received by Ukraine and its allies, with a senior US defense official saying Russia has moved almost all of its troops in the area into an invasion-ready position. "Diplomats I have been talking to are aware the west has cried wolf once before, on 16 February, so there are caveats," notes Guardian reporter Julian Borger.
  • US helps Poland prepare for refugees. American troops are helping Polish authorities prepare for a potential flood of refugees over its 300-mile border with Ukraine, the Washington Post reports. Polish officials say that in a worst-case scenario, a million Ukrainians could end up fleeing a Russian invasion.

  • UN chief warns of 'moment of peril.' UN Secretary General António Guterres warned Wednesday that the world is facing a "moment of peril" amid mounting fears of an invasion, the BBC reports. "The latest developments regarding Ukraine are a cause of grave concern, and they include reports of increased ceasefire violations across the contact line, and a real risk of further escalation on the ground," he said.
  • Fresh sanctions. President Biden's sanctions against Russia will include sanctions on the company building the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Germany has halted approval of, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nord Stream 2 AG is a subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom. Australia and Japan have now joined the US, EU, UK, and other countries in sanctioning Russia.
  • Putin 'disappointed' by Western reaction. CNN reports that according to Russian officials, Vladimir Putin "expressed his disappointment with the reaction of the United States and NATO" to Russia's demands in a conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday. Turkish authorities say Erdogan told Putin that a "military conflict will not benefit anyone."
(More Ukraine stories.)

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