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Kiev announced a new series of cyberattacks against government websites and banks, raising fears that Russia could launch an online offensive just hours after the Kremlin announced it would partially withdraw some 130,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s government said in a statement on Tuesday that two state-owned banks, PrivatBank and Oschadbank, had been the target of “massive” denial-of-service attacks and other failures that disrupted banking services.

“The websites of the Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also attacked,” the government’s Strategic Communications Center said. Although he didn’t specifically name Russia, he added: “The aggressor used tactics of small and large misdeeds.”

At the White House, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said the United States was “aware of the reports of denial of service incidents” and had contacted its Ukrainian counterparts to “offer support in the investigation. and the answer”.

However, the NSC said it had “no further information to share at this time” and did not comment on the possible source of the attack.

Although neither the United States nor Ukraine has officially accused Russia, Serhiy Demediuk, deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security Council, told the FT that Kiev believed the attack was a “continuation of an aggression large-scale Russian hybrid aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine and undermining our Euro-Atlantic integration.

A similar cyberattack last month targeted government websites. Ukrainian officials have warned that any military invasion by Russia could be preceded by cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns and other provocations designed to destabilize and weaken the country.

A senior bank official in Ukraine told FT that a “lot of banks” had been hit, although the official added that by Tuesday night most were able to counter the attacks and get operations back on track. line.

Ukraine’s cyberpolice said in a statement that they are investigating the incidents as “an element of information warfare”.

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