Ukraine government websites HACKED with notice warning ‘wait for the worst’ ahead of feared Russian invasion
UKRAINE'S government websites have been HACKED with a notice warning people to "wait for the worst" ahead of a feared Russian invasion.
With 100,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, the huge cyberattack took place just a day after a series of talks between Moscow and the West ended in a stalemate.
Authorities in Ukraine are investigating the attack, which hit a number of government websites including the ministry of foreign affairs, cabinet of ministers, and security and defence council.
A message, visible on hacked government websites, said: "Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network.
"All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it
"All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future."
The note – written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish – appeared when people tried to access the websites, and has since been removed after the pages were temporarily taken down.
Ukraine's foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.
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Russia did not immediately comment but has previously denied being behind cyber attacks on Ukraine.
The European Union'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 Kyiv.
"We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this cyber attack. Sadly, we knew it could happen," Josep Borrell told reporters at an EU foreign ministers meeting in the western French city of Brest.
"It's difficult to say (who is behind it). I can't blame anybody as I have no proof, but we can imagine."
It comes after no breakthrough was reached at meetings between Russia and Western states, which fear Moscow could launch a new attack on a country it invaded in 2014.
Despite four hours of talks, "significant differences" remain, according to Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.
Top diplomats have warned Europe is the "closest it's been to armed conflict" in the past 30 years as war tensions escalate over the Ukraine crisis.
"We're facing a crisis in European security," the US Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter said in a Thursday press briefing.
"The drumbeat of war is sounding loud and the rhetoric has gotten shrill."
A top official in Poland, which borders Ukraine and Russia, has warned that World War 3 fears are growing, with rumbling tensions in Georgia, Armenia, and Moldova, as well as Ukraine.
"It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years," Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said.
"For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe."
He went on: "We should focus on a peaceful resolution of the conflict in and around Ukraine."
More than 100,000 Russian troops are deployed near the Ukrainian border, while separate battles with Moscow-back separatists are continuing to flare up.
Russia denies plans to attack Ukraine but says it could take unspecified military action unless demands are met, including a promise by the NATO alliance never to admit Kyiv.
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