Russia has warned the West that cyberattacks against its infrastructures could lead to “direct military” confrontation between the two sides.
“The militarization of the information space by the West, and attempts to turn it into an arena of interstate confrontation, have greatly increased the threat of a direct military clash with unpredictable consequences,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
“Rest assured, Russia will not leave aggressive actions unanswered,” it said, noting, “All our steps will be measured, targeted, in accordance with our legislation and international law.”
The United States was “deliberately lowering the threshold for the combat use” of cyberweaopns, the ministry added.
Attacks on websites belonging to Russia’s state and news agencies have increased since February, when the country began a “special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the operation was aimed at “demilitarizing” the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine, which together form the Donbas region. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.
Putin said the mission was also aimed at “defending people who for eight years were suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”
The United States as well as Ukraine’s other Western allies have, meanwhile, been souping up Ukraine’s war machine with millions of dollars in modern weaponry.
Washington has, most recently, pledged to provide Ukraine with precision rocket systems that are supposed to enable it to strike Russian positions from a longer range.
Earlier this week, Putin cautioned that his country could start expanding the scope of its ongoing offensive in Ukraine if the West kept upgrading its weapons supplies to the ex-Soviet republic.