The government of Montenegro has revealed it has been hit with a massive cyber attack and pointed the finger at Russia.
Its government accused the Kremlin of launching a digital assault on its infrastructure, declaring the country is ‘under a hybrid war at the moment’.
Relations between the Balkan country and Russia used to be close but have been at a low ebb since it joined Nato in 2017.
Its government has also backed Western sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Montenegro, which has ambitions to join the European Union, has been declared an ‘enemy state’ along with the vast majority of the continent.
The Podgorica-based Agency for National Security blamed hackers based in Russia for efforts to bring down government websites, communications and transport infrastructure.
Airports and border crossings could all be impacted, it warned, adding: ‘Co-ordinated Russian services are behind the cyber attack.
‘This kind of attack was carried out for the first time in Montenegro and it has been prepared for a long period of time.’
It was first reported earlier this week and the government said it had prevented damage but statements yesterday suggested it was ongoing.
Dusan Polovic, a government official, said: ‘I can say with certainty that this attack that Montenegro is experiencing these days comes directly from Russia.’
The UK Foreign Office acknowledged the attack in its guidance to Brits visiting or living in the country.
It read: ‘Montenegrin authorities have shut down a number of official websites and online services to protect citizens’ data following a cyber attack.’
The US embassy in Montenegro warned its citizens there to be aware of a ‘persistent and ongoing cyberattack that is in process’.
It added: ‘The attack may include disruptions to the public utility, transportation (including border crossings and airport), and telecommunication sectors.’
The Kremlin has not commented publicly on the allegations made by Montenegro but has previously threatened to retaliate for its decision to press for closer ties to the West.
In 2017 when the Nato bid was confirmed, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said: ‘In the light of the hostile course chosen by the Montenegrin authorities, the Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures on a reciprocal basis.
‘In politics, just as in physics, for every action there is an opposite reaction.’
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