As Russian president Vladimir Putin was preparing to address the nation Monday morning during the annual Victory Day parade commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, local television menus were reportedly hacked with program descriptions on smart TVs replaced by a message reading, “The blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of murdered children is on your hands. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war.”
Per the BBC, major channels including Channel One, Rossiya-1 and NTV-Plus were affected. The Washington Post said the same line appeared on the platforms of IT giant Yandex while RuTube, Russia’s answer to YouTube, was also affected.
This morning the online Russian TV schedule page was hacked
The name of every programme was changed to “On your hands is the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and their hundreds of murdered children. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war” pic.twitter.com/P2uCNz8cqa
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) May 9, 2022
Reuters reported it was not immediately clear how the messages appeared today. In March, hacking collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for hacking into several outlets to broadcast footage of the war from Ukraine. As the war has raged on, Russians’ access to independent and social media in the country has been strictly controlled by the Kremlin.
Despite speculation that Putin might make a major announcement during his address, none was forthcoming. He referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation,” and said it was “the inevitable, timely and only correct decision,” according to the New York Times.
Ahead of Putin’s speech, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky released a video commemorating Victory Day, saying “We won then. We will win now too.” He referred to Putin as a madman and said, “We are fighting for our children’s freedom and therefore we will win… Very soon there will be two victory days in Ukraine.”
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) May 9, 2022