Russian government websites including the official Kremlin and media regulator pages are down, in what could be the first round of tit-for-tat cyberattacks after the West furiously condemned warmonger Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s telecoms agency also announced that Russian TV channels had been hacked to broadcast Ukrainian songs, the Kyiv Independent reported on Saturday afternoon.
Just hours before Russia’s tyrant launched his aggressive war to ‘demilitarise’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine, Kyiv was hit by a ‘massive’ cyberattack targeting its government and banks.
The websites of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Service, and Cabinet of Ministers were all out of action Wednesday afternoon.
Bomb threats were also phoned in to several government buildings, thought to be part of a psychological pressure campaign by Moscow.
The Russian president’s war appears not to be going to plan due to Kremlin ‘overconfidence’, poor tactical planning, and ‘shock’ at the fierce resistance put up by brave Ukrainians fighting for national survival, intelligence sources have claimed.
Dramatic video shows a destroyed Russian convoy with Z-markings near Kherson in the south of the country on the third day of fighting after Ukraine’s army held control of Kyiv and last night successfully repelled Russian advances on the capital.
Kyiv’s defence ministry has so far put Russia’s losses at around 2,800 troops, 80 tanks, 516 armoured vehicles, and 10 airplanes and seven helicopters so far.
A senior US defence official said Russia is facing more resistance than Moscow anticipated in its invasion of Ukraine, including in its advance on Kyiv, and appears to have lost some of its momentum.
Estonia’s former defence chief Riho Terras has now claimed that Putin’s war is not going to plan because Russia is fast running out of money and weapons, and will have to enter negotiations with Volodymyr Zelensky’s government if Kyiv holds off the Russians for 10 days.
Russia’s tyrant has allegedly convened a meeting with the oligarchs in a bunker in the Ural Mountains, at which it is claimed that he furiously vented that he thought the war would be ‘easy’ and ‘everything would be done in one to four days’.
Citing Ukrainian intelligence sources, Terras claimed that the war is costing Russia around £15billion-per-day, and that they have rockets for three to four days at most, which they are using sparingly.
He claimed that Putin’s plan has relied on panicking the country, firing missiles at residential buildings ‘at random’ to ‘intimidate’ the Ukrainians, trigger mass army desertions, national surrender, and Zelensky’s flight from the country.
Terras also alleged that Russian special operations have been near Kyiv since February 18, and had planned to swiftly seize the capital and install a puppet regime.
‘The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered. The Ukrainians must avoid panic! … Ukraine must stay strong and we must provide assistance!’, he wrote on Twitter.
Russia’s Interfax news agency claimed Moscow had captured the southeastern city of Melitopol. Ukrainian officials were not immediately available to comment on the fate of Melitopol. If the Interfax report about Melitopol, which cited Russia’s defence ministry, is confirmed, it would be the first significant population centre that the Kremlin has seized.
However, Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey cast doubt on the report, saying the city of some 150,000 people was still in Ukrainian hands and that fighting in the capital was so far confined to ‘very isolated pockets of Russian special forces and paratroopers’ and that ‘the main armoured columns approaching Kyiv are still some way off’.
The Ukrainian health minister said 198 people have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the Russian offensive.
Viktor Lyashko said there were three children among those killed. His statement was unclear whether the casualties included military and civilians. He said another 1,115 people, including 33 children, were wounded in the Russian invasion.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed Saturday that since the start of Moscow’s attack, its military had hit 821 Ukrainian military facilities, 87 tanks and other targets.
Konashenkov didn’t say how many Ukrainian troops were killed and didn’t mention any casualties on the Russian side. Neither his claims nor Ukraine’s allegations that its forces killed thousands of Kremlin troops could be independently verified.
Russian forces continued to pound Kyiv and other cities with artillery and cruise missiles in a campaign that has sent hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing westwards towards the European Union, clogging major highways and railway lines.
Top Russian security official and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said military operations would be waged relentlessly until Putin’s goals were achieved, ratcheting up Moscow’s rhetoric.
Medvedev said new sanctions on Russia were a sign of the West’s impotence in the conflict and he hinted at a severing of diplomatic ties, saying it was time to ‘padlock the embassies’.
The United States has observed more than 250 launches of Russian missiles, mostly short-range, at Ukrainian targets, the US defence official said.
‘We know that (Russian forces) have not made the progress that they wanted to make, particularly in the north. They have been frustrated by what they have seen is a very determined resistance,’ the official said, without providing evidence.
The Kremlin said Putin had ordered troops to stop advancing on Friday but they were moving forwards again on Saturday after Kyiv refused to negotiate.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has fostered good ties with Russia and Ukraine, told Zelensky by phone on Saturday that Ankara was making efforts for an immediate ceasefire.
Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said there was currently no major Russian military presence in the capital, but that saboteur groups were active. The metro system serves now only as a shelter for citizens and trains have stopped running, he said.
Klitschko said 35 people, including two children, had been wounded overnight and that he was extending an overnight curfew that kicked in at 5pm (1500 GMT).
In an emotional speech to the besieged nation uploaded to Facebook on Friday, the Ukrainian President also accused Moscow of attempting to seize Kyiv, overthrow the government and install a ‘puppet’ regime ‘like in Donetsk’, one of two separatist regions which warmonger Vladimir Putin officially recognised before launching an all-out invasion.
Declaring ‘we derailed their idea’, Zelensky added: ‘The fights are going on in many cities and areas of our state. But we know that we are protecting the country, the land, the future of our children. Kyiv and key cities around the capital are controlled by our army.
‘The [Russian] occupants wanted to block the centre of our state and put here their marionette, like in Donetsk. We derailed their idea.’
Zelensky pushed for Ukraine’s urgent ascension to the European Union, saying he discussed the issue with the EU leaders. He also urged cutting Russia from the SWIFT international electronic bank payment system, noting that Germany and Hungary should show ‘courage’ and agree to the move.
Briefly switching to Russian, he claimed that thousands of Kremlin troops were killed and hundreds of those who were taken prisoner ‘can’t understand why they were sent into Ukraine to kill and get killed’.
Thanking Russians who spoke out against the war and asked them to keep up the pressure on the Kremlin, he said: ‘The sooner you say to your government that this war should be immediately stopped, the more of your people will stay alive.’
After Ukrainian forces said they had fought off a Russian attack on their capital Saturday, Zelensky shot a selfie-style video outside his office to vow to stay and fight on. He also denounced as disinformation allegations that he had surrendered or fled.
Wearing olive green military-style clothing and looking tired but determined, he added: ‘A lot of fake information has appeared on the internet saying that I allegedly called on our army to lay down its arms and that evacuation is underway. Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this. This is what I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine!’.
As the video hit social media platforms, the sounds of explosions and air raid sirens could still be heard around the capital, as the Russian military said it had fired cruise missiles at Ukrainian military targets.
Source: Daily Mail