Ukrainian hackers breached Russian TV channels in occupied Crimea Sunday, broadcasting a slickly-produced video hinting at the impending start of Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
Several Ukrainian news outlets reported that broadcasts of the Russian cable channels “Rossiya” and “Friday” were interrupted with a recording from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, showing Kyiv’s heavily armed troops staring into the camera while holding a finger to their lips.
The enigmatic footage was accompanied by a message in Ukrainian that read: “Plans like silence. There will be no announcement that ‘it’s starting.’”
The clip ended with a shot of two fighter jets soaring in the sky – an apparent nod to Ukraine’s efforts to procure warplanes from its Western allies — and a man’s voice off camera saying: “shhh.”
Ukraine’s national public broadcasting company, known as Suspilne, reported the hack, citing information from a resident in the city of Simferopol in Crimea, according to the Ukrainian outlet Ukrainska Pravda.
Oleg Kryuchkov, an adviser to the Kremlin-appointed head of Crimea, confirmed the breach in a statement Sunday.
“The broadcasts of several Crimean cable operators have been hacked,” Kryuchkov said. “The signal is being cut. Broadcast television — all multiplexes — are working as usual.”
This was not Ukrainian cyber-warriors’ first foray into Crimea since the start of the war.
In February, on the eve of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, two radio stations in Crimea were hacked to broadcast Ukraine’s national anthem, followed by a message from Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the defense intelligence of Ukraine, who vowed that Kyiv’s forces will liberate all the occupied territories, including Crimea.
“We are going to find every traitor to Ukraine, wherever they might be. All of them will be destroyed,” Budanov warned. “I say to all the patriots: the time has come to act. Stay tuned. We’re coming to you. Glory to Ukraine!”
In April 2022, Ukrainian hackers sabotaged the broadcast of Russia’s Channel One in Crimea, airing a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reported Ukrainska Pravda.
“Let each of the Russian officials who seized precious land in Crimea remember that this is not a land where they will have peace,” Zelensky said in the recording.
In his public remarks throughout the 15-month conflict, Zelensky has repeatedly promised to take back control of Crimea, which Vladimir Putin annexed by force in 2014.
Russian occupying forces in Ukraine are now bracing for the start of Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive, which has been in the works for months.
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that its troops on Sunday pushed back a large-scale Ukrainian offensive in the contested Donetsk region in the east, killing hundreds of troops and destroying tanks and armored vehicles.
Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the attack, and The Post could not independently verify Russia’s claims.
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