China Launched Massive Cyberattack on Ukraine in Lead-Up to Russian Invasion: Report

China Launched Massive Cyberattack on Ukraine in Lead-Up to Russian Invasion: Report
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin enter a hall for talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, in this 2019 file photo. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo)
Andrew Thornebrooke
The Chinese regime launched a massive cyberattack on vital Ukrainian infrastructure in the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a report by UK media outlet The Times. The attack included efforts to degrade the Ukrainian military and nuclear facilities.

More than 600 websites owned by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in Kyiv weathered thousands of hacking attempts coordinated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the report.

The report was based on intelligence memos obtained by The Times and subsequent interviews with British and Ukrainian intelligence and security organizations.

The attacks began on Feb. 23, two days after the end of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and one day before Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that the attacks attempted to infiltrate a wide array of targets, including the national bank and rail authority, according to The Times. Attempts were made to steal data and also disrupt operations, according to memos from the SBU that were compiled by another nation.

Russia also attempted to hamstring Ukrainian networks before invading, according to the report.

Ukrainian sources said Chinese attacks were distinguished by the unique tools and methods utilized by the cyber warfare unit of the CCP’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army.

A UK government spokesperson told The Times that the allegations were being investigated with the assistance of international partners.

Sources from the U.S. intelligence community are said to have corroborated reports of a Chinese cyberattack on Ukraine’s government.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced a “no-limits” partnership with Putin on Feb. 4, saying that there could be “no forbidden areas of cooperation” between the two nations.
Since then, international intelligence sources have issued allegations that the CCP was considering a plea for military assistance from Russia regarding the war in Ukraine. One widely-cited report states that CCP officials knew about the invasion plans in advance and asked Russian leadership to postpone it until the end of the Beijing Olympics.

The regime in Beijing has refused to condemn Putin for the war, actively censors social media posts that criticize Moscow’s aggression, and has declined to join multilateral sanctions placed on Russia by the international community.

Recently, the regime’s foreign minister met his Russian counterpart in China, during which Beijing stated that it was “more determined” to boost ties with Moscow.
U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in March that Sino–Russian cooperation would only increase in coming years, and Indo-Pacific commander Adm. John Aquilino testified before Congress that the CCP seeks nothing less than a new international order at the “expense of all others.”
Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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