Vassily Nebenzia, a Russian representative to the United Nations (U.N.), accused Western democracies of being one-sided and influencing the public to think negatively about his country, calling it a “Russophobic information campaign,” according to Business Insider.
Nebenzia, who spoke on Monday at a U.N. Security Council briefing, said that the West is trying to shut down Russia’s “alternative views” and build “a cyber totalitarianism” against his country.
“States that call themselves a ‘community of democracies’ in fact are building a cyber totalitarianism,” Nebenzia said.
Nebenzia also denounced Ukraine for allowing a volunteer cyber army to fight back against Russian disinformation online as well as targeting Russian and Belarusian facilities.
According to a Ukrainian official, the cyber army is made up of developers, cyber specialists, designers, copywriters and marketers.
“Colleagues, you are creating uncontrollable cyber troops that will master their skills in Ukraine by attacking Russia, but will not stop at that,” Nebenzia said.
The Russian diplomat also accused Western countries of “militarizing digital domain,” which he compared to a nuclear war.
“Once again, I call you to think of the danger of dragging the world into a cyber confrontation that is no less dangerous than [the] usage of WMDs,” Nebenzia said.
He also demanded that the West “demilitarize information space,” adding that Russia will respond back to any cyberattacks targeting his country.
Several Western nations, including the U.S., have condemned Russia for launching destructive cyberattacks against Ukraine, which has become a testing ground for Russia’s cyber operations.
Earlier this month, the U.S. and the European Union (EU) confirmed that Russia was behind a cyberattack that targeted Ukraine’s satellite network in late February.
The European Council in a statement said the hack took place an hour before the invasion, causing significant communication outages and disrupting several public authorities and businesses.
“This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the European Council said.
The U.S., the EU and other allies have vowed to take further steps to prevent and deter such actions taken by Russia against Ukraine.
Experts and policymakers have also warned that Russia is likely to deploy its cyber arsenal in the U.S. midterm elections, which may take different forms, including disinformation campaigns and election hacking.