Ukraine has accu-sed Russia of carrying out an organised cyber attack on President Petro Poroshenko’s website in response to Kiev’s decision to impose sanctions against a number of major Russian internet businesses.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine slapped economic restrictions on Russia’s largest internet group Yandex and other popular online firms, saying it wanted to guard against cyber threats, and the Kremlin threatened retaliation.
“We have been witnessing Russia’s response to the presidential decree that mentioned closing access to Russian social media. The website of the president is affected by an organised attack,” the deputy head of the presidential administration, Dmytro Shymkiv, said in a statement.
“The situation is under control thanks to our IT-specialists and there is no threat to the work of the website,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin.
The Ukrainian sanctions froze any assets held by the Russian businesses inside Ukraine and banned hosts there from linking to them, though the websites were all still accessible in Kiev on Tuesday.
The ban was imposed partly to protect against companies “whose activities threaten the information and cyber security of Ukraine”, the Kiev government’s Security and Defence Council said in a statement.
They added to a list of more than 400 Russian firms blacklisted by Kiev since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ensuing pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine.
Mail.ru Group, which owns the Odnoklassniki social network and Vkontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, said that around 25 million Ukrainians could be affected by the “politically motivated” decision.
“We have never been involved in politics. We have not broken a single law of Ukraine,” it said in a statement. It said the Ukrainian market contributed an “immaterial” amount of revenue and so Mail.ru would not revise its financial plans.
Yandex also said it did not expect the sanctions to have a material negative impact on its financial results. There was no immediate comment from other companies on the list.