The cyberattack was launched as millions tuned in to see their leader deliver a Victory Day speech in Moscow marking the Nazi defeat in 1945
Russian state TV channels were hacked to show messages telling viewers their hands were “covered in blood” because of Ukraine as the Kremlin celebrated the anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany.
As millions watched the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on Monday, program names were changed to indicate messages such as “The TV and the government are lying” and “Your hands are covered in blood from the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians and their children”.
The names of all Russian TV channels have been changed to “Blood is on your hands” – including the Kremlin’s main propaganda channel, Russia One.
The “no to war” messages are said to have been broadcast between 7am and 11am on most Russian TV channels, disrupting coverage of the Kremlin’s televised war celebrations.
Former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak said some channels have been affected since last night. “Night and morning, residents of Russia who wanted to watch festive TV shows came across such news. I wonder who exactly got hacked. Whose head will fly off his shoulders?” she said.
While Russian authorities have yet to acknowledge the hack, mobile operator MTS said it was hit by a “cyberattack” that transferred “extremist inscriptions” to its channels.
It is the latest in a series of hacks on Russian television since the invasion began. Hacker collective Anonymous in March hijacked the Kremlin’s main broadcast channels Russia-24, Channel One and Moscow 24 to broadcast independent reports on the war in Ukraine and footage of civilian casualties on TV.
Monday morning’s hack was started when audiences in Russia tuned in to see President Vladimir Putin address the nation commemorating the end of World War II.
He accused the West of wanting to “override” Russia’s values and called NATO “the aggressor” on the global stage.
He also tried to justify the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine by claiming that Russia was fighting “on its own soil”. Mr. Putin has previously said that he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a real country.
The Russian leader falsely claimed in the run-up to the invasion that Kyiv was “talking about acquiring nuclear weapons,” adding, “It was a totally unacceptable threat to us…we had to act.”
In one of only a few references to World War II during a speech celebrating the defeat of Nazism in 1945, Mr Putin said the “horror of a global war will never be repeated”.
The Russian leader also laid flowers at war memorials dedicated to the Soviet Union’s “hero cities,” including Kyiv and Odessa, both of which have been the target of Russian shelling over the past two months.
Leaders around the world, including Boris Johnson, noted the “wild irony” of Mr Putin condemning Nazi Germany while waging war abroad.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is to deliver a speech today denouncing the Kremlin’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine. He is expected to say that the Russian leader and his close circle “mirror” Nazi fascism.
Mr Wallace’s speech at the National Army Museum in Chelsea reportedly aims to contradict Putin’s narrative that Russia’s “special operation” was an attempt to “denazify” Ukraine.
He is expected to say that Mr. Putin must suffer the same fate as Adolf Hitler for “repeating the mistakes of the totalitarian regimes of the last century”.