Researchers claim to have uncovered Russian cyber attacks aimed at the Ukrainian military and government before and during the Sea of Azov captures.

Russian government-affiliated actors launched coordinated cyber attacks against Ukrainian government and military targets before and during the attack and seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors on November 25, a private intelligence firm announced this week. The attacks appeared to be aimed at stealing information that would have been relevant to planning the operation, according to Stealthcare, a cyber threat intelligence group. If so, the revelation challenges Russia’s already widely-disputed claim that Ukraine initiated the crisis.

Russia has a long history of timing cyber attacks to offensive operations, going back to Georgia in 2008. Russian cyber attacks have featured heavily in the Ukraine conflict, most significantly knocking out power on Christmas Eve 2015 for thousands of Ukrainians.

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