Russian hackers target Kosovo over support for Ukraine

Russian hackers target Kosovo over support for Ukraine
Defence Minister Ejup Maqedonci's criticisms of Russia at the Defense 24 conference angered Russian hackers. /
By bne IntelliNews May 7, 2024

Russian hackers launched attacks on the websites of Kosovo institutions, which were offline during the day, broadcaster RTK reported on May 7. According to a government statement, the offices of Kosovo’s PM Albin Kurti and President Vjosa Osmani were the primary targets, but they were swiftly restored to functioning order.

Kosovo’s Defence Minister Ejup Maqedonci told RTK that these cyber assaults were in response to his recent remarks against Russia. While attending the Defense 24 conference in Poland, Maqedonci asserted that a group of Russian hackers initiated the attacks as retaliation for his support of Ukraine.

Maqedonci also told a panel that "unfortunately we cannot say that the danger in the Balkans no longer exists".

"While Russian aggression in Ukraine is underway, Russia's extension in the Balkans, Serbia, the same state that caused the 1999 war in Kosovo, continues to have an aggressive approach towards Kosovo," he said, according to a Facebook post.

He added that "an unstable state in the Balkans would serve ... Russia in continuing the war to annex Ukraine".

In their response, the Russian hackers cited Maqedonci's speech, alleging that he said Kosovo is prepared to provide military assistance to Ukraine. They further quoted him as saying, "Kosovo is ready to participate in collective efforts to bolster Ukraine's defense. We should seriously consider this."

This incident occurred amidst heightened tensions following the arrest of two Russian citizens in northern Kosovo, who had unlawfully entered the country. The Basic Prosecutor's Office in Mitrovica has filed charges against the detainees for unauthorised border crossing, with a request for their deportation from Kosovo.

According to the Kosovo Police's report, the individuals with Russian passports were apprehended in Jarinje without Kosovan visas, indicating their illegal entry into Kosovo.