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Massive cyberattack hits Ukrainian government websites

“Following a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Foreign Ministry and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Friday, on his official Twitter account.

“Our specialists have already started to restore the functioning of the computer systems, and the cyber police have opened an investigation,” he added.

Most of the affected state resources have already been restored, according to Ukraine’s security service, which said personal data had not been breached.

Early Friday morning local time, Ukrainian government websites, including that of the Foreign Ministry, displayed black screens with threatening text indicating that Ukrainians’ personal information had been hacked.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” read the message, published in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and wait for the worst. This is for you for your past, present and future. For Volhynia, for OUN UIA [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists Ukrainian Insurgent Army], for Galicia, for Polesia and for historic lands, “the web page reads.

The UIA and OUN were Ukrainian ultranationalist groups that fought for independence during Soviet times, while Galicia, Volyn and Polesia are regions from which they have historically enjoyed high support.

The Ukrainian Security Service said in a statement that although “provocative messages were posted on the main page of these sites”, the content of the sites was not changed, adding that “the leak of personal data, according to preliminary information, did not happen. ”

The websites of the Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Sports, Energy, Agrarian Policy, Veterans Affairs, Environment and Emergency Service of Ukraine and State Treasury have been targeted, according to state media Ukrinform.

The Ministry of Education and Science, whose official website is down, on Friday asked citizens to use the ministry’s official social media while the issue was being resolved.

EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell condemned the cyberattack on Friday, adding that it is “difficult to say” who is behind the hacks.

“We have to say that this deserves a big condemnation,” he told reporters at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, western France.

“We will mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine fight this cyberattack. Unfortunately, we knew it could happen,” he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Friday it was “too early to draw any conclusions” as to the identity of the perpetrator of the attack, but said that there was “a long record of Russian cyber attacks against Ukraine in the past.”

In addition, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Friday that the Russian special services were preparing provocations against soldiers of the Russian armed forces in order to accuse Ukraine.

The statement from the ministry’s intelligence department said: “The military units of the aggressor country and its satellites are ordered to prepare for such provocations.”

CNN has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

Tensions with Russia at their highest

The United States and Russia met this week for high-stakes talks aimed at avoiding a war, as Russia continued to mass troops near Ukraine’s borders amid a dispute over China’s activities. NATO in Eastern Europe and the prospect of Ukraine joining the military alliance.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are at their highest in years, with the build-up of the Russian military raising fears that Moscow will launch an invasion in the weeks or months to come.

Ukraine has said Russia is trying to destabilize the country ahead of any planned military invasion, and Western powers have repeatedly warned Russia against further aggressive measures.

Kremlin denies intention to attack, argues NATO support for Ukraine – including increased arms supplies and military training – poses a growing threat on Russia’s western flank .

A senior US official has warned that “the drum of war is ringing loud” after a week of talks ended Thursday without clear breakthroughs.

Russian officials have hinted they are on the verge of dropping talks over the US and NATO’s refusal to respond to major Moscow demands: a guarantee Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO and that the alliance cancel its expansion in Eastern Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press briefing on Friday that while Moscow’s proposals “were aimed at reducing military confrontation, defusing the overall situation in Europe, the exact opposite is happening. In Occident”.

He said: “We absolutely do not accept the emergence of the North Atlantic Alliance on our borders, especially given the path taken by the Ukrainian leadership – both past and present. These are really the red lines and they know this. “

Katharina Krebs reported from Kiev and Jake Kwon reported from Seoul. Jeremy Herb, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt, Kylie Atwood and Dalal Mawad contributed reporting.

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