White House: Russia’s Cyber Attack on Ukraine Most ‘Destructive and Costly’ in History

'NotPetya' attack estimated to have cost companies more than $1.2 billion

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin / Getty Images


The White House issued a statement Thursday blaming the Russian military for a cyber attack directed at companies operating in Ukraine, calling it the "most destructive and costly cyber attack in history."

The Office of the Press Secretary's statement echoes the conclusion of British intelligence, as the U.K. earlier on Thursday declared Russia responsible for the attack, the BBC reported. The 2017 attack was known as "NotPetya" and targeted companies conducting business with Ukraine, a country with which Russia has been in conflict since its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

"In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber attack in history," the White House statement reads.

The statement goes on to say that the economic damage—which resulted from attacks on shipping giant FedEx, drugmaker Merck, and others—has reached billions of dollars. The White House maintains the attack was part of the Kremlin’s campaign against Ukraine.

"The attack, dubbed ‘NotPetya,’ quickly spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas," the statement reads. "It was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict."

"This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber attack that will be met with international consequences," the statement concludes.

The British government said the attack was a phony ransomware attack, meaning the attackers claimed to be seeking ransom from targeted companies but were in actuality trying to weaken Ukraine.

"The destructive attack masqueraded as ransomware, but its purpose was principally to disrupt," the U.K. government said.

The Kremlin has denied involvement in the attack.

"We categorically dismiss such accusations; we consider them unsubstantiated and groundless. It's not more than a continuation of the Russophobic campaign which is not based on any evidence," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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