On Thursday, Russian TV and radio stations were hacked, and began broadcasting startling messages of a nuclear attack, urging residents to put on gas masks and run for cover.
Residents of eastern Russia were told to “take potassium iodide pills” and take shelter immediately during the hacked broadcast, according to a report from Metro.
“There was a strike. Urgently go to a shelter,” viewers of TV were told as a map of Russia displayed the country turning red from west to east. “Seal the premises. Use gas masks of all types. In the absence of gas masks, use cotton-gauze bandages.”
“Keep calm,” it continued. “Should you feel worse, go to the nearest medical facility.”
TV screens displayed a black and yellow radiation warning, with a message urging people to go “immediately to shelter.”
The messages were seen on TV, as well as heard on radio stations in the Moscow and Sverdlovsk regions, and interrupted programming in Yekaterinburg, the fourth largest city in the country.
The hack affected enough areas that the Russian emergency ministry was forced to respond, releasing a statement assuring residents that a “false air raid alert was broadcast in Moscow after servers of radio stations and TV channels were hacked.”
Russians have been frequent targets of hackers, who have often spread messages of fake attacks since the country launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. On Feb. 22 of this year, sirens broadcast an “air raid alert,” and another broadcast a “missile threat” less than a week later.
Just a day prior to the latest hack, streaming services in Russia were hacked and taken offline during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address on the state of the nation.
A group called the IT Army of Ukraine, which formed shortly following the invasion, took credit for the attack on the streaming services, but has not claimed credit for the more recent attack on Russian TV and radio.
However, there are some commentators who believe the nuclear warning may be a ploy by the Kremlin itself to warn the public to be ready for war as Putin ramps up his rhetoric amid tension between east and west over the Ukraine conflict, according to the Daily Mail.
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