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Polish state news agency hit by cyberattack, officials claim Russian involvement

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 31, 2024 6:01 PM 2 min read
The Polish Press Agency (PAP) office in central Warsaw, Poland, on Dec. 27, 2023. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Polish Press Agency (PAP), a state-run media outlet, was hit by a cyberattack on May 31, which authorities have claimed was a Russian-backed operation.

Russian intelligence services have been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against Ukraine and many countries in the West. The EU and NATO condemned Russia's "malicious cyber campaign" against Germany and Czechia earlier in May following a spate of attacks.

Earlier on May 31, messages appeared on PAP's website saying that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk had ordered a "partial mobilization" to begin on July 1.

Deputy Prime Minister Krzysztof Gawkowski then said the message was "false" and that the incident was under investigation.

"Everything points to a cyber attack and planned disinformation!" he added.

Jacek Dobrzynski, a spokesperson for the Polish security service, also said that it was a "probable Russian cyberattack."

Gawkowski told the Polsat news agency that the goal of the likely Russian-backed operation was to spread "disinformation before the (upcoming EU parliamentary) elections" and "paralyze society." He added that the false message was identified within two minutes and thanked the media for labeling it as disinformation and not spreading it further.

Echoing comments from other European leaders, Gawkowski said that Poland is in something of a "cold war" with Russia, which "affects every EU country."

Gawkowski also said that Tusk had been informed of the incident immediately.

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