Hacker collective ‘Anonymous’ has declared a “cyber war” against Russia, claiming to have disabled several Russian government websites and that of RT.
Social media accounts claiming to represent the group announced on Thursday evening that they were “officially in cyber war against the Russian government,” and had taken down dozens of websites in response to the country’s military action in Ukraine.
The websites of the Russian government, the Kremlin, the Duma, the Ministry of Defence, and RT were all affected by the apparent cyberattack, with some of the websites slowing down and others being taken offline for extended periods throughout the day.
“F**k #Putin… We support the people of #Ukraine… We are legion. We will not forget the lives that have been lost under Putin’s regime,” tweeted one account related to the collective, while another account wrote, “The Putin criminal regime are gonna have a very hard time recovering from our attacks!”
In another post, an account claiming to represent Anonymous said that while its operations were “targeting the Russian government,” there was also “an inevitability that the private sector will most likely be affected too.”
“So, while people around the globe smash your internet providers to bits, understand that it’s entirely directed at the actions of the Russian government and Putin,” the account said in a message to Russians.
As a decentralized collective, Anonymous does not have any central hierarchy or leadership and thus its operations have been known to take on a wide range of issues from different political perspectives.
Hackers affiliated with Anonymous have previously attacked US government websites, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Westboro Baptist Church, ISIS, the Church of Scientology, and the Epilepsy Foundation – which was targeted with flashing strobes in 2008 – among many others.
Russian troops are closing in on Kyiv, threatening a city of nearly 3 million people as Russia’s war against Ukraine extends into its second day.
In the early morning hours on Friday, Russian airstrikes targeted Kyiv as Russian forces began entering the capital. Ukrainian officials called on residents to “make Molotov cocktails,” to defend against the invasion. United States government officials have warned that Kyiv may fall soon, as Moscow moves into Kyiv with the goal of regime change.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking earlier on Thursday, said Ukraine was alone in defending itself. “Who else wants to fight with us?” he said. “Honestly, I don’t see anyone.” He continued to call on Europe, and the West, to impose harsher penalties on Russia, and told Moscow that Ukraine was ready for negotiations to “stop people from dying.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would not negotiate a settlement unless Ukraine puts down arms, setting up the possibility of a bloody battle for Ukraine’s capital city.
After months of threats, Russia is now waging a full-out war on Ukraine. It began in the early morning hours of Thursday, local time, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was launching a “special military operation” in Ukraine, a move that was followed up byreports of explosions around cities, including Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine and the capital Kyiv.
The Ukrainian foreign minister confirmed soon after that “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strike.” By the afternoon in Ukraine, Russian troops and tanks had entered the country on three fronts. According to the Pentagon, Russia launched more than 100 missiles into Ukraine, an opening salvo that defense officials said may be leading up to full-on effort to take the capital of Kyiv. At least 137 Ukrainians have been killed so far, Zelensky said Thursday.
Putin’s attempt to redraw the map of Europe could lead to the most devastating conflict on the continent since World War II. It could cost thousands of civilia
n lives and create hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine. About 100,000 Ukrainians have fled so far, according to a United Nations estimate.