Ukraine accuses Russian groups of launching cyber attacks against it, and Washington fears an “imminent invasion”
On Friday, January 14, 2022, the Ukrainian State Security revealed that it had detected some evidence that the recent cyber attack on the Ukrainian government network was linked to hacker groups linked to Russian intelligence services.
The massive cyber attack hit about 70 websites on Thursday evening with a warning message telling Ukrainians: “You have to be afraid and expect the worst,” while making some of them impossible to access on Friday morning and prompting Kiev to open an investigation.
The State Security Service said in a statement: “All the details of the incident were documented as part of the criminal procedures that were opened in the past.”
He also stressed that “at this moment, we can say that there are some signs of the involvement of hacker groups linked to special services in the Russian Federation.”
On the other hand, Moscow denied that it was behind these warnings, even though it had mobilized more than one hundred thousand soldiers on its neighbor’s borders, and published pictures, on Friday, to mobilize more forces.
The cyber attack took place hours after security talks between Russia and Western allies concluded without a breakthrough, Thursday 13 January.
Washington: Moscow is looking for a pretext to wage war
The United States has said it fears Russia may be looking for a pretext to invade Ukraine if diplomacy fails to achieve Moscow’s goals.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States fears Russia is in the process of preparing for a possible new military attack on the country it invaded in 2014.
On the same occasion, Psaki stated, “As part of its plans, Russia … seeks to create a pretext for the invasion, including through subversive activities and media operations by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.”
The US official explained that the US has information indicating that Russia has already deployed a group of agents to carry out a “disinformation operation” in eastern Ukraine.
Russia is lying
Moscow denied that it was behind these warnings, even though it had mobilized more than one hundred thousand soldiers on its neighbor’s borders, and published pictures, today, Friday, to move more forces.
The TASS news agency said that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced such reports, saying they were based on “unfounded” information.
Also, Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine, but says it could take unspecified military action unless its demands, including a promise not to accept Kiev as a member of NATO, are accepted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia hopes to resume security talks with the United States, but this depends on Washington’s response to its demands.
He also added, “We will never accept the appearance of NATO directly on our borders, especially in light of the current approach of the Ukrainian leadership.”
When asked what Moscow means by threatening, this week, to take “military technical action”, Lavrov replied that “measures to deploy military equipment, this is clear. When we make decisions with military equipment, we understand what we mean and what we are preparing for.”
Coming danger and dire consequences for Europe
Pictures from the Russian Defense Ministry, published by the RIA news agency, showed armored vehicles and other military equipment being loaded onto trains in Russia’s Far East in what Russia described as “a training for long-range deployments.”
The Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine has also forced the United States and its allies to come to the negotiating table.
For his part, US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan told reporters: “The risk of a military invasion is high.”
He also added, “No dates have been set for any further talks. We must consult with allies and partners first.”
Earlier, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau told the 57-nation security forum: “It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE region is greater now than at any time in the past 30 years.”
These statements highlighted the extent of European concern about Russia’s mobilization of nearly 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.
Rau confirmed that there was no breakthrough at the Vienna meeting, which followed talks between Russia and the United States in Geneva on Monday, and a meeting between Russia and NATO in Brussels on Wednesday.