Ukrainian officials on Tuesday said a planned cyber-attack by Russian military hackers on the country’s power grid has been foiled.
They say the country’s computer emergency response thwarted an attack planned by hackers from Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency that intended to knock electrical substations offline last Friday.
The State Service of Special Communications said on its website that malware was discovered designed to destroy data on computers.
There was no immediate explanation of how the attack was defeated, though the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine thanked Microsoft and the cyber-security firm ESET in a separate bulletin. Nor was the scope immediately explained.
GRU hackers twice successfully attacked Ukraine’s power grid in the winters of 2015 and 2016.
Russia’s use of cyber-attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure has been limited compared to experts’ pre-war expectations.
In the early hours of the war, however, an attack Ukraine blames on Russia knocked offline an important satellite communications link that also impacted tens of thousands of Europeans from France to Poland.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Mayor: 10,000 dead in Ukraine’s Mariupol and toll could rise
— It’s not the end’: The children who survived Bucha’s horror
— Russian war worsens fertiliser crunch, risking food supplies
— Czechs provide free shooting training for local Ukrainians
— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
BRATISLAVA (Slovakia) — Slovakia’s government has approved increasing the number of troops in a multinational NATO battle group in the country from 2,100 to 3,000.
The first 800 service members have already arrived in Slovakia.
The Czech Republic took charge of the battle group, with the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia also contributing.
Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said the increase in the planned troop numbers is related to Patriot air defence systems that the US, Germany and the Netherlands are deploying in Slovakia.
The move should boost Slovakia’s defence capabilities after the country donated its Soviet-era S-300 air defence system to Ukraine last week.
The alliance stationed troops in the Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — and Poland after the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russia.
After Russia attacked Ukraine, NATO decided to boost its presence along the entire eastern flank by deploying forces in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
GENEVA — The World Trade Organisation is predicting that trade in goods will grow much less than previously expected this year, saying prospects for the global economy have darkened since the onset of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Geneva-based WTO on Tuesday pointed to multiple uncertainties in its forecast over the next two years because Russian and Ukrainian exports of items like food, oil and fertilisers are under threat from the war.
It also cited the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic –- notably from lockdowns in China.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala described a “double whammy” from the conflict and the coronavirus.
She said the war had caused “immense human suffering” in the region and its effect had rippled around the world, notably in poorer countries.
The WTO said its projections for world trade take into account factors like the impact of the war, sanctions on Russia, and lower demand around the world from lower business and consumer confidence.
It said world merchandise trade volume is expected to grow 3 per cent this year, down from a forecast of 4.7 per cent before the war began.
MOSCOW — The Russian military on Tuesday said it had hit Ukrainian arsenals with long-range cruise missiles.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the military used air- and sea-launched missiles to destroy an ammunition depot and a reinforced hangar for warplanes at Starokostiantyniv in the Khmelnytskyi region.
Konashenkov said that another strike destroyed a Ukrainian ammunition depot in Havrylivka near Kyiv.
NICOSIA (Cyprus) — The head of Cyprus’ Orthodox Christian Church on Tuesday “unreservedly” condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying there’s “no justification” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to “destroy a country, to raze it to kill”.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II told state broadcaster CyBC that the invasion is “an unacceptable situation” and that Putin’s actions have “no logic.”
The archbishop said he’s distraught that people are being killed and questioned whether the Russian leader is “in his right mind”.
The archbishop added that he’d be the “first to go and bless a defensive war”, but the “egotism, if not the stupidity” of the Russian leadership “knows no bounds”.
Chrysostomos also questioned Putin’s embrace of Orthodox Christianity, including the sincerity of his travels to the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was baptized.