Ukraine was hit with a massive cyberattack on Friday warning its citizens to “expect the worst”, and Russia, which has massed more than 100,000 troops at its neighbor’s border, has broadcast television footage of more. of forces deployed during an exercise.
The developments came after no breakthroughs were made in meetings between Russia and Western states, which fear Moscow will launch another attack on the country it invaded in 2014.
“The drum of war is ringing loud,” said a senior American diplomat.
Russia denies plans to attack Ukraine, but says it could take unspecified action unless demands are met, including a NATO alliance pledge never to admit Kiev .
Ukrainian authorities were investigating the massive cyberattack on Friday, which hit government bodies, including the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Security and Defense Council.
“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 a message visible on hacked government sites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish .
“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. It’s for your past, your present, and your future.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters it was too early to say who might be behind the attack, but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.
Russia did not immediately comment, but previously denied being behind cyberattacks against Ukraine.
The EU’s top diplomat condemned the attack and said the EU’s political and security committee and cyber units would meet to see how to respond and help Kiev.
“We will mobilize all our resources to help Ukraine fight this cyberattack. Unfortunately, we knew it could happen, ”Josep Borrell told reporters at a meeting in Brest, western France.
Meanwhile, Russia has said troops in its Far East will train to deploy to remote military sites for exercises as part of an inspection. Defense Ministry footage released by the RIA news agency showed numerous armored vehicles and other military equipment loaded onto trains in the Eastern Military District.
“It’s probably a cover for units moved to Ukraine,” said Rob Lee, military analyst and member of the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.
The movements have indicated that Russia has no intention of easing tensions over Ukraine, having used its troop build-up to force the West to the negotiating table and press sweeping demands for “security guarantees.” – the key elements of which have been described by the United States. as non-runners.
Washington warned Thursday that the threat of a Russian military invasion was high. Russia has always denied this.
Moscow said dialogue continued but found itself at a “dead end” as it tried to persuade the West to ban Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of expansion of the alliance in Europe.
The United States and NATO rejected the demands, but said they were open to talking about arms control, missile deployments, confidence-building measures and limits on military exercises.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was awaiting a point-by-point written response to its proposals.