NATO announced Friday it planned to deepen cyber cooperation with Ukraine after a sweeping attack knocked out key government websites in Kyiv at a time of mounting tensions between Russia and the West over Ukrainian security.
“In the coming days, NATO and Ukraine will sign an agreement on enhanced cyber cooperation, including Ukrainian access to NATO’s malware information sharing platform,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Kyiv said the damage was limited and held back on apportioning blame but the ex-Soviet country has accused Russians with links to Moscow for previous hits on websites and key infrastructure.
The targeted sites, including the emergencies ministry, education ministry and cabinet, displayed a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish warning Ukrainians that their personal data had been compromised.
Within hours of the breach early Friday the SBU security services said access to most hit sites had been restored and that the fallout was minimal.
– Russian military drills –
But he added: “You can imagine who did this.”
The Justice Department at the time said the six were current or former members of the GRU Russian military intelligence and were also accused of staging a malware attack called “NotPetya” that infected computers of businesses worldwide causing nearly $1 billion in losses.
Those ties deepened after Russia in 2014 annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and threw it weight behind pro-Moscow separatists that control sections of the east of the country.
The US ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith told reporters in Brussels that “we all understand there is an array of scenarios that could unfold as it relates to what’s happening between Russia and Ukraine”.
Moscow says it has no plans to invade Ukraine.
Moscow says this is a response to what it sees as the growing presence of NATO in its sphere of influence, where it fiercely opposes the expansion of the Atlantic alliance.
This week the United States and its NATO allies held talks with Russia in an attempt to ease tensions, but all three rounds of negotiations — in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna — proved unsuccessful.
Ryabkov also said he did not rule out the possibility that Moscow could deploy forces to allies Venezuela or Cuba if diplomacy failed.