Russian Government Targeted By Who?, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Who would have expected this?

An international hacking collective that goes by the name Anonymous has appeared to declare on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia because of the Ukraine invasion.

On Thursday (February 24), the Twitter account “YourAnonNews” made the statement to its 6.5 million followers, announcing the group is “currently involved in operations against the Russian Federation.”

In the statement the group said, they understand it’s hard for the Russian people “to speak out against their dictator for fear of reprisals.”

Speaking to the “Russian people” the group said their operations are “targeting the Russian government,” saying that “while people around the globe smash your internet providers to bits, understand that it’s entirely directed at the actions of the Russian government and Putin.

Following the statement, 一 a Russian government-funded media outlet, which has been described by the U.S. State Department as a essential in “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem” 一 said they had been the target of what they consider a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

A DDoS attack is a coordinated cyberattack that attempts to take down a website or server by flooding it with internet traffic.

Also on Thursday, websites for the Kremlin and the State Duma 一 a lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia 一 appeared to be intermittently unavailable, which could be caused by DDoS attacks.

According to a Reuters report, this announcement by Anonymous follows a request earlier on Thursday by Ukraine Defense Military officials, where they asked for assistance from the country’s hacking community to beef up their cyber security defenses.

The request by Ukraine’s Defense Military officials seemed to be a reaction to several Ukrainian government websites being hit by DDoS attacks on Thursday as Russian troops made their way to Kyiv.