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Ukrainian government websites down after 'massive' cyberattack

This Feb 23, 2019, file photo shows the inside of a computer.
This Feb 23, 2019, file photo shows the inside of a computer. Copyright AP Photo/Jenny Kane
Copyright AP Photo/Jenny Kane
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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“Be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future," a message on the websites read.

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Several Ukrainian government websites were down on Friday morning following a "massive" cyberattack, officials have confirmed.

"As a result of a massive cyberattack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down," Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote on Twitter.

"Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyber police has opened an investigation," he added.

In total, the websites of the seven ministries were down, as well as that of the country's cabinet, the Treasury, the National Emergency Service and the state services website, where Ukrainians' electronic passports and vaccination certificates are stored.

The websites contained a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, saying that Ukrainians' personal data has been leaked to the public domain. “Be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future," the message read, in part.

While it was not immediately clear who was behind the attacks, they come amid heightened tensions with Russia and after talks between Moscow and the West failed to yield any significant progress this week.

The European Union's chief diplomat said from Brest, north-western France, where the bloc's foreign affairs ministers are gathered for an informal summit, that he condemns the cyberattack.

He added that an emergency meeting of the ambassadors of the EU's Political and Security Committee has been convened to determine how the bloc can act and what technical assistance it can provide Ukraine.

Borrell also stressed that there is no proof yet as to who or what is behind the attack, "but we can imagine."

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock did not react to the cyberattack but highlighted she will be travelling to Moscow next week for talks "at all levels."

"Diplomacy, especially in times of crisis, is characterised by great perseverance, patience and nerves of steel," she said

Tens of thousands of Russian troops and military equipment are amassed along the border with Ukraine, stoking fear the country is getting ready to invade its neighbour.

Moscow has denied this but issued a list of demands to NATO, including a guarantee that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the security alliance. Washington ad European partners have rejected this demand, stressing that every sovereign state has the right to take its own decisions regarding its security.

Talks between Washington and Moscow earlier this week followed by talks between NATO and Russia failed to bring any immediate progress.

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