Anonymous hacks Russian TV and news agencies to broadcast 'truth from the frontlines'

28 February 2022, 15:01

Russian media sites appeared to have been hacked in a cyber attack by Anonymous.
Russian media sites appeared to have been hacked in a cyber attack by Anonymous. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Sophie Barnett

Hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility after Russian TV stations and media sites were hacked to "show footage from the frontlines" in Ukraine and "broadcast the truth" to citizens.

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Readers visiting the home page of Fontanka, a news outlet based in St Petersburg, were warned of "certain death" for Russian troops invading Ukraine.

The site was replaced with text reading "Putin makes us lie" and urging citizens to "stop this madness".

Pro-Kremlin Russian stations have been criticised for repeating Vladimir Putin’s 'propaganda' that the invasion is a "special operation" and Russia is not the aggressor.

Social media sites have also been restricted in Russia amid the conflict, preventing users in Moscow and St Petersburg from seeing devastating photos of the suffering in Ukraine.

In addition to taking control of Fontanka, the cyber attack also temporarily brought down other sites including state-owned news agency Tass and daily newspaper Kommersant.

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Ukrainian caller describes situation in Kharkiv

Fontanka and Tass were running normally again shortly after midday while Kommersant appeared to remain offline.

The message on Fontaka read: "Dear citizens. We urge you to stop this madness, do not send your sons and husbands to certain death. Putin makes us lie and puts us in danger.

"We were isolated from the whole world, they stopped buying oil and gas. In a few years we will live like in North Korea. What is it for us?

"To put Putin in the textbooks? This is not our war, let's stop it! This message will be deleted, and some of us will be fired or even jailed. But we can't take it anymore.

"Indifferent journalists of Russia."

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A post on Anonymous' Twitter page also declared "cyber war" against the Russian government following its invasion.

Russian troops have targeted multiple cities in Ukraine since they breached the border on Thursday, killing hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in devastating shelling attacks.

Caller explains how Russia is losing information war in Ukraine

On Friday, dozens of people were killed in the city of Kharkiv - including two soldiers and a number of civilians - after a mass shelling of Ukraine's second largest city.

Videos on social media showed explosions in the centre of the city, and a Ukrainian minister said the city had been "massively fired upon".

Local media reported that at least five civilians and two soldiers had been killed, with 22 civilians and 20 soldiers injured.

A number of residential blocks were reportedly hit.

The new attack comes after Ukraine regained control of Kharkiv on Sunday, after its military fended off Russian troops.

It comes as delegates from Russia and Ukraine meet for peace talks in Belarus.