The Secretary of State for European Affairs said this Friday that she hopes that the cyberattack that Ukraine was targeted does not mean that Russia has decided to close the doors to dialogue and “go to the attack”, as this would be “very problematic”.
“There are those who think that this attack may have been the first part of that version that ‘there is no more dialogue, we move on to the attack’. If so, it is very problematic, because, if so, the European Union (EU) really has to take action”, commented Ana Paula Zacarias in statements to Lusa and RTP in Brest, France, where she represented Portugal today at an informal meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers.
The Secretary of State stressed that “there is still a desire here for openness and dialogue, and above all to have these parallel and interconnected dialogues with NATO, with the United States, with the OSCE [Organização para a Segurança e Cooperação na Europa]”, dialogues that can “allow us to reach a good conclusion”.
But, Ana Paula Zacarias highlighted, on the other hand, that it is also necessary to maintain “this firmness that an attack on Ukraine – and despite being a digital attack, it is still an attack and has complicated consequences – will always on the European side a very strong and above all united position”.
According to Ana Paula Zacarias, if Moscow’s attitude is indeed in the direction of aggression, then the EU must “start discussing the general lines approved at the last European Council, in which it was said that any aggression that may be carried out in relation to Ukraine will have to be faced with very tough, very serious measures imposed by the European side”.
The Secretary of State – who replaced the minister Augusto Santos Silva in Brest, who traveled to Rome to participate in the funeral ceremonies of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli – was referring to the cyberattack last morning against several Ukrainian government websites , of unknown origin, but which the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said today is not difficult to “imagine” where they came from.
At the entrance to this Friday’s work session – which thus brought tension between Russia and Ukraine back on the agenda – the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy condemned the cyberattack that Ukraine was the target of last dawn and said that the EU would “mobilize all resources” to help Kiev in the face of an attack that was already feared.
“Unfortunately, we already expected that this could happen. Of course, we cannot point the finger at anyone, as we have no proof, but we can imagine”, he declared.
Ukraine indicated today that, “so far”, no major damage has been found following the cyberattack, ensuring that the online pages will soon be operational.
“Provocative messages were posted on the (Ukrainian government) websites, but the content of the pages was not modified nor were there any changes to personal data, according to available information,” the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) said in a statement.
“A significant part of the government media (‘websites’) that were affected has already been restored and the remaining part will be accessible soon”, said the same source.
According to the same officials, the authorities suspended the services available on other government portals to “prevent the spread of (computer) attacks” and to “locate the problem”.
Also today, the head of Russian diplomacy said that Moscow is available to discuss security issues with the European Union, but only if the United States of America (USA) is also present at the talks.
“We are not so concerned about who is in the negotiations or whether the US is at the forefront of the negotiations, because it depends on them how security policy is being built in Europe,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement. press conference in Moscow.
Regarding a separate dialogue with the EU, like the one now taking place with the US and NATO, Lavrov noted that Washington and the Atlantic Alliance should be asked whether they “will allow the EU to act independently”.