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Poland sees ‘Russian cyberattack’ behind fake military draft report

Cyberattack hits Iran parliament websites: state media

The Polish government said Friday that a false story stating that Poles would be mobilised to fight in Ukraine that appeared on the state news agency was likely a Russian cyberattack.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk described the hacking attack as part of Russia’s attempts to destabilise the European Union ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections.

The fake report was published Friday as NATO’s foreign ministers met in the Czech Republic to discuss long-term support for Ukraine as it battles Russian forces.

“Given the probable Russian cyberattack on the Polish Press Agency and the release of disinformation on alleged mobilisation in Poland, the ABW and the digital ministry have taken swift action,” security services spokesman Jacek Dobrzynski said on X, referring to the domestic security agency.

The Polish Press Agency (PAP) deleted the article a few minutes after it was published, adding that “the source of the text is not the Polish Press Agency”.

The article then appeared a second time before being deleted again.

The PAP said it was “investigating the circumstances around the appearance of the false story”.

The article claimed that Tusk had said Poland would announce a partial military mobilisation on July 1.

“Two hundred thousand Polish citizens, both ex-military and regular civilians, will be called up for mandatory military service,” the article said. “Everyone called up will be sent to Ukraine.”

There were several red flags in the text indicating it was a fake, including a lack of quotes, no precise source, a verbose writing style and no journalist initials at the end.

“This yet another very dangerous hacker attack is a good illustration of Russia’s strategy of destabilisation on the eve of the European elections,” Tusk said on X.

“It is increasingly clear how important these elections are for us,” he added.

Tusk had said previously that several attempts at diversion, sabotage and arson had been undertaken in Poland on Russia’s behalf in recent months.

These acts “were fortunately averted thanks to the vigilance of our services and allies”, Tusk said in mid-May, adding that Poland would reinforce its intelligence services in response.

EU-member Poland has been a staunch supporter of neighbouring Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, and is a main country for transferring Western weapons and munitions to Kyiv.

It is not the first country to see its news agency hacked in recent months.

In April, hackers attacked the website of the public Czech news agency CTK, posting two fake texts saying the Czech intelligence service had prevented an attack on Slovakia’s president-elect Peter Pellegrini.

Czech police and the Security Information Service are investigating the case.

The Czech Republic also summoned its Russian ambassador earlier this month over recent repeated cyberattacks by a group said to be linked to Russia’s military intelligence.

Also this month, Germany temporarily recalled its Russian ambassador after members of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party were targeted in what Berlin said was a state-sponsored Russian cyberattack.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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