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The programming guides of several major Russian cable and satellite television providers displayed a message opposing Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine during the annual Victory Day parade on Monday in what may be the latest in a spate of hacks carried out against Russia by pro-Ukrainian internet activists.
A clip of the incident shared by BBC, the names of programs, and their descriptions on several major Russian networks on different time slots appear to have been changed to display a message which tells the Russian people they are being lied to by the authorities.
The message notes that the “blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of their murdered children” were on the hands of the viewer, adding the slogan, “no to war.”
It is not immediately clear if the messages were displayed due to a hack or an act of internal sabotage.
Rostelecom, one of the cable providers on which the messages appeared, told Russia’s TASS news agency it was investigating the issue and will try to prevent it from happening again.
In a separate act of protest, two former employees of the Russian news website, Lenta.ru, altered existing articles on their website to display anti-war messages condemning Putin as a “pathetic, paranoid dictator” and also calling out the “weak-willed” Russian elite.
“‘It’s easier to hide economic failure with a war.’ Putin needs to go. He’s unleashed a meaningless war and is leading Russia into oblivion,” one of the messages displayed on Lenta.ru said.
Russia on Monday celebrated Victory Day, an annual event marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the second world war. Speaking from Moscow’s Red Square, Putin compared Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine with the Soviet Union’s fight against Hitler’s army. In his speech, Putin said that the Russian army was fighting on its “own land” in Ukraine and reiterated claims that he was forced into this conflict by NATO.
Russia has been targeted by a spate of cyberattacks carried out by several online hacktivist groups, since the start of its invasion of Ukraine. The Washington Post reported that more passwords and sensitive data from Russia were dumped onto the open Web in March than information from any other country.