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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Russia accuses West of election ‘cyberattacks’

Hackers have reportedly already tried to disrupt the upcoming presidential vote

Many Western countries have already launched mass cyber attacks against Russian infrastructure ahead of the upcoming presidential election, a senior diplomat at the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

Ambassador-at-Large Gennady Askaldovich announced this at Tuesday’s session of the Federation Council’s committee for protecting state sovereignty and preventing meddling into Russia’s internal affairs.

Read more: ICC Issues Arrest Warrants for Russian Commanders Over War Crimes in Ukraine

“Massive cyber attacks are being carried out and prepared by the collective West and hackers from different countries,” Askaldovich said.

“Let me remind you that in the municipal elections last year alone, according to the Central Election Commission, about 170,000 cyber attacks were repelled in just one day,” he added. “It’s good that our electoral system turned out to be resistant to external cyber influence, but this is also an indicator of how great the enemy pressure is on the Russian state.”

In addition, the Foreign Ministry is now completely prepared to conduct absentee voting abroad, according to Askaldovich.

“We have already conducted early voting in six or seven countries. About 435 people voted early. All this took place as normal,” he told the committee, adding that paper ballots had already been delivered to 280 polling stations outside of Russia.

Read more: Pro-Russian Group Hacks Swedish Government Websites

During the March 2018 presidential election, the Central Election Commission came under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that the Russian authorities traced to 15 countries. However, the election system itself was not connected to the global internet and was therefore immune.

The 2020 referendum on amendments to the Russian constitution also came under a DDoS attack by hackers, which Moscow traced to the UK.

Presidential elections were initially called for March 17 this year, but the Central Election Commission ended up deciding to extend the voting to three days, starting on March 15.

Incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who is running as an independent, will be challenged by Communist Party candidate Nikolay Kharitonov, Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democrats, and Vladislav Davankov of New People.