In a major revelation, Ukraine’s intelligence agency claimed that China staged a huge cyberattack on Ukraine’s military and nuclear facilities on February 23, a day before Russian forces started a “special military operation” against Ukraine. According to a report published by The Times on Friday, the Chinese government was involved in facilitating a massive cyberattack on Ukrainian government websites. Citing Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, the British daily national newspaper, reported the hacking of more than 600 websites belonging to the defence ministry in Kyiv and other institutions. The report categorically claimed that the hacking attempt was coordinated by the Chinese government.

According to the agency, the hacking was started before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics, held in February this year. However, the Chinese cyberattacks against Ukraine were peaked a day before the invasion, i.e. on February 23, according to the report. The intelligence agency claimed the hackers had targeted the websites of Ukrainian border defence forces, national banks and railway authorities. The agency claimed that the attacks were meant to steal data and explore ways to shut down or disrupt vital defence and civilian infrastructure.

The agency claimed they identified the Chinese attackers by the trademark tools and methods of the cyber warfare unit of the People’s Liberation Army. Apart from Chinese cyber attacks, the agency accused Russia of crippling Ukraine’s computer networks and compromising government websites before announcing the invasion. Meanwhile, when The Times asked the US intelligence sources about a possible cyberattack by the Chinese government, it said that the officials confirmed the Bejing’s involvement in the attack.

China’s reputation is at stake, says Ursula von der Leyen

Russia initiated a full-fledged war against Ukraine nearly two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognising the independence of breakaway regions Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin’s action came despite the West’s repetitive warning and speculations about his ill intention to invade Ukraine. On February 24, the Russian troops started a military operation against Ukraine. On April 1, as the ravaging Ukraine war entered its 37th day, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appealed to Beijing to uphold international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. While addressing the 23rd EU-China summit virtually on Friday, von der Leyen stressed that China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Being a respected member, it has a special responsibility. “China’s reputation is at stake,” she said.

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