- Ministry of Defense, Banks have been hit by a cyber attack
- Russia says some of the troops concentrated near Ukraine have re-established themselves
- The West responds with caution and suspicion
- Moscow claims victory over Western war propaganda
MOSCOW / WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (Reuters) – Ukraine said on Tuesday that its defense ministry and two banks had been hacked, which appears to be blaming Russia, with Western nations seeking evidence of a partial troop withdrawal from Moscow.
The Kremlin, the United States and Europe have been embroiled in deep tensions over Ukraine for decades in East-West relations, and Moscow Kiev wants to stop joining NATO in post-Cold War influence and energy supplies on the continent.
Western nations have called for a halt to arms control and confidence-building measures, and have called for Russia to withdraw its 130,000 troops from its neighbors’ borders.
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On Tuesday, Russia said some were returning to the site after training, prompting US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield to call for evidence, saying such a move would be “welcome news if it were legal.”
Ukraine did not say who was responsible for the cyber attack, but a report pointed the finger at Russia.
The Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security, which is part of the Ministry of Culture, said:
Privatbank users have been experiencing problems with payments and banking processes, with Oshadbank reportedly slowing down some of its systems due to a cyber attack and maintaining it on the homepage of the Ministry of Defense website.
Russia’s Federal Security Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A European ambassador said the hacking was linked to a possible cyber-attack ahead of a full-scale military offensive in Ukraine.
“This means that a physical attack is imminent, or that Russia is in constant turmoil with Ukraine,” the ambassador said anonymously.
The denial of service attacks, distributed when hackers flooded a network to disrupt an unusually large amount of data traffic as seen in Ukraine on Tuesday, is difficult to say but the European ambassador said there was no doubt Russia was behind it. they.
The United States has supported the investigation and retaliation for the attack.
World leaders continued their diplomatic efforts.
The White House says US President Joe Biden will speak at 1530 ET (2030 GMT) on “the steps we have taken, the actions we are prepared to take, and what is at stake for the United States and the world.” There will be no new policy announcements.
During a call on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Russian Representative Sergei Lavrov that Moscow needed a “verifiable, credible, meaningful expansion.”
The NATO leader has welcomed signals from Russia over the past two days seeking a diplomatic solution, but insisted that Moscow prove its willingness to act.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters, “There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue.
He said Russia often left military equipment after exercises, creating the ability to re-coordinate forces.
At a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Schaals, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned only briefly about the troop moves and did not go into details.
Russia has always denied plans to invade Ukraine, saying it could train troops in its own territory as it pleases. It emphasizes the set of security guarantees of Western countries.
Putin told reporters that Ukraine was not ready to join a Western military alliance at any time and that Russia was not satisfied with the talks, which demanded that the issue be resolved immediately.
“As for the war in Europe … about whether we like it or not? Of course not. That is why we put forward plans for a negotiation process that should result in an agreement to ensure equal security for all. The country,” he said.
In a separate development, the lower house of the Russian parliament voted for Putin to recognize the two Russian – backed secession areas in eastern Ukraine.
Recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk could kill the Minsk peace process in eastern Ukraine, where 15,000 people have been killed in clashes between government forces and pro-Moscow separatists.
When asked about the move, Putin said that the problems of the regions should be resolved on the basis of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014 and 2015, but they have not been implemented. Scholes said all parties must abide by those agreements.
‘May be immediate’
Russia’s military presence near Ukraine’s border has provoked months of frantic Western diplomacy and the threat of severe sanctions if it invades, culminating in warnings in recent days that this could happen at any time.
The Kremlin sought to portray its moves as evidence that talk of Western war was erroneous and frantic.
“February 15, 2022 will go down in history as the day the Western war campaign failed. It was humiliated and destroyed without a single shot,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has released footage of tanks and other armored vehicles being loaded onto railway platforms. But Western military analysts said more information was needed to determine the significance of recent troop movements.
Commercial satellite images taken on Sunday and Monday showed a flurry of Russian military action in several locations near Ukraine, with large numbers of troops and attack helicopters and warplanes moving toward forward locations. read more
Russian stocks, government bonds and the ruble have been plagued by fears of impending conflict, and Ukrainian government bonds have rallied as the situation has eased.
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Report by Maria Svetkova, Andrea Shalal and Dmitry Antonov; Additional report by Reuters bureau; Written by Mark Travelion and Costas Pitas; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool
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