Ukraine president's site 'attacked by Russia'

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a news conference in Kiev. Photo: 14 May 2017 Image copyright Ukrainian president's administration
Image caption President Poroshenko has accused Russia of waging a cyber war against Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's official website has been hit by an "organised" cyber-attack from Russia, his administration has said.

It said it was Russia's response to Mr Poroshenko's decree banning some of Russia's biggest social media networks and net services popular in Ukraine.

Kiev provided no evidence of Russia's involvement in the attack.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian authorities on the Ukrainian accusation.

The Ukrainian presidential administration said the situation was "under control", and there was "no threat to the work of the website".

Several hours after the administration's statement the website was working normally, with all links on the main page being accessible.

Ukraine's decision earlier on Tuesday to impose the ban on Russian sites is a significant ramping up of sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and alleged involvement in the continuing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Those targeted include social networks and Odnoklassniki, search engine Yandex and the email service.

Ukrainian service providers have been ordered to block access to the sites.

The companies' offices in Ukraine will also face asset freezes and other restrictions although it was not immediately clear how the ban on the services would come into force and whether Ukraine had the technical means to enforce it.

'Authoritarian state'

The president's decision to push through a decision by Ukraine's national security council could prove controversial domestically, as VK (VKontakte) alone has up to 14 million users in Ukraine and Odnoklassniki (which translates as Classmates) is also widely popular.

How banned social media compare in Ukraine

Image copyright AFP
Image caption VKontakte alone is thought to have some 15 million users in Ukraine
  • VK - 12-14 million users
  • Odnoklassniki - 7-8 million users
  • Facebook - about 7 million users

Source: Ukraine's Plus One DA digital agency

Russia's foreign ministry condemned the ban, accusing Ukraine of trying to create an "authoritarian state".

In a separate development, Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday banned the public display of the orange-and-black St George's ribbon, which is used in Russia as a symbol of Soviet victory in World War Two.

Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, said the ribbon was a "symbol of Russia's occupation war against Ukraine".

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