Russia accused of flashing violent Ukraine war images on children’s TV channels

A UN agency is investigating accusations that Russia hacked into Ukrainian television and flashed violent imagery from its invasion of the country on children’s channels, according to a report.

Ukraine and other European nations have complained to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) about the alleged satellite interference impacting navigation services and television shows, The Telegraph reported.

Ukraine, in its complaint to the ITU on 3 June, recorded at least 11 cases of interference in the last three months affecting dozens of Ukrainian television programmes, the report added. ITU is a specialized agency of the UN responsible for matters related to information and communication technologies.

The alleged interference by Russia hit children’s channels and resulted in the flashing of violent images of Moscow’s bloodied invasion between the regular programming. The hacking jammed GPS signals and could endanger air traffic control, according to the EU in a statement submitted to the ITU earlier this month.

Officials in Kyiv have sought action from the UN agency to “take all possible measures to stop interventions of the Russian Federation”. These claims made by Kyiv are now set to be reviewed by the ITU this week.

Both Russia and Ukraine have attempted the “hacking” of each other’s television, satellite and internet broadcasts since the February 2022 invasion.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court were reportedly investigating alleged Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as possible war crimes, four sources familiar with the case said earlier this month.

This marks the first confirmation that attacks in cyberspace are being investigated by international prosecutors, which could lead to arrest warrants if enough evidence is gathered.

The probe is examining attacks on infrastructure that endangered lives by disrupting power and water supplies, cutting connections to emergency responders or knocking out mobile data services that transmit air raid warnings, one official said.

The latest incident includes hacking attempts from Russian sources on 9 May when Ukrainian and Latvian television broadcasts were halted by the footage of Moscow’s Victory Day parade, forcing Ukrainian providers to switch to an alternative transmission method.

A similar attempt was made on the same day on Russian broadcasting of the parade by “unknown hackers”, according to a report by Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

The Russian viewers in Omsk ad Irkutsk cities were made to see footage of the terror attack on Crocus City Hall near Moscow. It identified Russian soldiers in Ukraine, already labelled by their names, as “murderer”.

In July last year, millions of Russians watching TV were warned that their “hour of reckoning was coming”. The video was reportedly made by the Ukraine’s ministry of defence and included Kyiv’s military advancements. The footage was stopped with text warning reading “the hour of reckoning has come” in Ukrainian language.

Ukraine’s cyber spy chief in January said Russian hackers were inside Ukrainian telecoms giant Kyivstar’s system from at least May last year in a cyberattack, which should be seen as a “big warning” to the West.