MOSCOW: A televised phone-in with Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday was targeted by “powerful” cyberattacks, the state-run Rossiya 24 network which broadcast the event said. Shown on Kremlin-friendly media, the annual session with Putin sees the president field in real time queries submitted by Russians throughout the country. This year´s phone-in on Wednesday, which lasted nearly four hours, repeatedly faced connection problems, particularly during calls from remote regions. “Our digital systems are right now facing attacks, powerful DDoS attacks,” a Rossiya-24 presenter told Putin, after a caller from the Kuzbass region in southwestern Siberia experienced connection issues. “Are you joking? Seriously?” Putin responded. “Turns out we have hackers in Kuzbass,” he quipped.
Russia´s largest telecommunications provider, Rostelecom, confirmed the attacks to news agencies, saying that measures were being taken to “block these illegitimate activities”. Putin´s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that the origin of the attacks was unclear.