On Thursday, Russia blamed the US and Ukraine for cyberattacks on its state institutions and critical infrastructure and warned the West that cyberattacks increase the risk of a “direct military clash.”
“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,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The Russian warning came after the US military said it was conducting “offensive” cyber operations to support Ukraine. The head of US Cyber Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone, said last week that the US had “conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, information operations.”
Nakasone didn’t disclose any details of the cyber operations, but his comments marked the first time a US official admitted to supporting Ukraine with cyberattacks since Russia invaded, which risks provoking Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry hinted that Moscow might retaliate. “Rest assured, Russia will not leave aggressive actions unanswered,” the Ministry said. “All our steps will be measured, targeted, in accordance with our legislation and international law.”
President Biden has previously warned that he believes cyberattacks could trigger a major war. “If we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence,” Biden said last summer.