In a bold move, Ukrainian hackers successfully breached Russian TV channels in occupied Crimea on Sunday, delivering a carefully crafted video that hinted at an upcoming counteroffensive by Kyiv. Ukrainian news outlets reported that the broadcasts of the Russian cable channels “Rossiya” and “Friday” were momentarily interrupted by a recording from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. The video showcased Kyiv’s heavily armed troops staring into the camera while placing a finger to their lips, creating an enigmatic and suspenseful atmosphere. Accompanying the footage was a message in Ukrainian that read, “Plans like silence. There will be no announcement that ‘it’s starting.'”
The video concluded with a symbolic shot of two fighter jets soaring through the sky, representing Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to acquire warplanes from its Western allies. Off-camera, a man’s voice could be heard saying, “Shhh,” adding to the intrigue and tension. Ukraine’s national public broadcasting company, known as Suspilne, reported the hack, relying on information provided by a resident in the city of Simferopol in Crimea.
Oleg Kryuchkov, an adviser to the Kremlin-appointed head of Crimea, confirmed the breach in a statement on Sunday. He acknowledged that several Crimean cable operators’ broadcasts had been hacked, resulting in signal disruptions. However, Kryuchkov assured the public that broadcast television, including all multiplexes, was functioning normally.
This recent incident is not the first time Ukrainian cyber-warriors have targeted Crimea since the onset of the war. In February, ahead of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, two radio stations in Crimea were hacked to broadcast Ukraine’s national anthem. The anthem was followed by a message from Major General Kyrylo Budanov, the chief of defense intelligence of Ukraine, who vowed that Kyiv’s forces would liberate all occupied territories, including Crimea. Budanov warned traitors to Ukraine that they would be found and destroyed, calling on patriots to stay vigilant and announcing, “We’re coming to you. Glory to Ukraine!”
In April 2022, Ukrainian hackers disrupted the broadcast of Russia’s Channel One in Crimea and aired a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky reminded Russian officials who seized Crimea that they would not find peace on the land they took. Throughout the 15-month conflict, Zelensky has consistently promised to regain control of Crimea, which was forcibly annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014.
As tension continues to escalate, Russian occupying forces in Ukraine are preparing for the anticipated start of Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive, which has been meticulously planned for months. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that its troops successfully repelled a large-scale Ukrainian offensive in the contested Donetsk region on Sunday, resulting in the alleged deaths of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers, as well as the destruction of tanks and armored vehicles. Ukrainian officials have yet to confirm the attack, and independent verification of Russia’s claims by The Post remains unfeasible at this time.