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Massive cyberattack hits Ukrainian govt websites amid Russia tensions

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(Last Updated On: January 15, 2022)

A massive cyberattack warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst” hit government websites on Thursday night, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Ukraine to open an investigation.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.

The cyberattack, which hit the ministry of foreign affairs, the cabinet of ministers and the security and defense council among others, comes as Kyiv and its allies have sounded the alarm about a possible new military offensive on Ukraine.

Russia has previously denied being behind cyber attacks on Ukraine.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” said a message visible on hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

The United States warned on Thursday that the threat of a Russian military invasion was high. Russia said dialog was continuing but was hitting a dead end as it tried to persuade the West to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe – demands that the United States has called “non-starters.”

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine in the past,” the foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

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Saudi-led coalition denies targeting detention center in Yemen

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen denied targeting a detention centre in Yemen’s Saada province, saying the facility hit was not a site restricted from strikes, the Saudi official news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

A Reuters witness said several people, including African migrants, died in the Friday attack that reportedly killed at least 60 people.

“The coalition will inform the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen (OCHA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the facts and details,” the state news agency said, citing a coalition spokesman.

He said the target in Saada was not on no-targeting lists agreed upon with the OCHA, was not reported by the ICRC and did not meet the standards stipulated by the Third Geneva Convention for Prisoners of War, Reuters reported.

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Bomb blast kills 3 people in eastern Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

A bomb blast ripped through a crowded market in eastern Pakistan on Thursday (January 20), killing three people and wounding over 20, police said, Reuters reported.

A police spokesman, Arif Rana, told Reuters it was a bomb, saying a time device rigged to a motorcycle exploded outside a shop in the market.

A nine-year-old boy is among the three dead, he said.

“I was around 12 feet or so away from the place, but the blast was so severe that we didn’t know what had happened. Then the fronts of some shop caught fire, and a couple of the shop assistants were injured. A man in the house over there died. A child was passing by, both his legs were blown off. I picked him up, but he was dead. It was a very severe blast,” said a resident who witnessed the explosion.

According to Reuters a newly formed separatist group based in southwestern Balochistan province claimed responsibility in a text message sent to a Reuters reporter.

It said a bank was the target of the attack. Police said they were investigating, saying it was premature to link this to Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket tournament scheduled to start in a week or so.

Baloch separatists have been fighting a low-key insurgency against the Pakistani government to demand a greater share in the local mineral rich resources, Reuters reported.

They usually attack government interests or Chinese projects in the province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, but an attack in a city like Lahore is rare.

China is involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and other projects in the province as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, read the report.

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Russia’s Putin hosts Iranian counterpart in Kremlin

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted on Wednesday (January 19) his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi for talks in Moscow as Russia tries to help salvage a nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, Reuters reported.

Putin and Iranian Raisi held discussions on the issues of bilateral cooperation Kremlin said, Reuters reported.

Raisi said that a visit to Russia could be a turning point in political, trade and economic relations between the two countries, Russian News Agency RIA Novosti reports.

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