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US, EU, UK Say Russia Used Cyberattacks Against Ukraine Before, During Invasion

FILE - Figurines with computers and smartphones are seen in front of the words 'Cyber Attack', binary codes and the Russian flag, in this illustration taken Feb. 15, 2022.

The United States and its allies Tuesday accused Russia of carrying out cyberattacks against Ukraine before and during its invasion.

"In the months leading up to and after Russia's illegal further invasion began, Ukraine experienced a series of disruptive cyber operations, including website defacements, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and cyber attacks to delete data from computers belonging to government and private entities – all part of the Russian playbook," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The UK and EU echoed the accusations.

"This is clear and shocking evidence of a deliberate and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine which had significant consequences on ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe," UK foreign minister Liz Truss said.

"The European Union and its member states, together with its international partners, strongly condemn the malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which targeted the satellite KA-SAT network, operated by Viasat," the 27-nation bloc said in a statement.

"The cyberattack took place one hour before Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 thus facilitating the military aggression."

The attacks were allegedly focused on satellite communications to disrupt Ukraine's command and control ability, and began as early as January, Blinken said.

Blinken also said the attacks had "spillover impacts" in other European countries.

Blinken said the U.S. and its allies were "taking steps to defend against Russia's irresponsible actions," including providing government officials, essential service providers, and critical infrastructure operators with satellite phones and data terminals.

He also said the "U.S. government has developed new mechanisms to help Ukraine identify cyber threats and recover from cyber incidents."

Russia has not commented. Moscow routinely denies it carries out offensive cyber operations.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.