Finland says government websites hacked as Ukraine president spoke

Earlier, a Russian state aircraft violated Finnish airspace. The moves also come as Helsinki debates joining NATO.

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Finnish MP’s applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy after his virtual address to the Finnish Parliament, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Helsinki, Finland on April 8, 2022. (Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva via Reuters)

HELSINKI — Finnish government websites suffered hacking attacks on Friday, the government said, at the same time as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was giving a video address to Finland’s parliament.

The attack also came a day after Moscow warned it would be forced to “rebalance” if Finland joined NATO.

The ministries for defense and foreign affairs both tweeted that their websites had been hit by denial of service attacks, which are typically intended to make the sites unavailable to regular users.

[Finland clarifies next steps to NATO entry]

The foreign ministry later said the situation had been normalized.

The attacks also hit the main government website, the government said.

Earlier on Friday, Finland’s ministry of defense reported a violation of Finnish airspace by a Russian state aircraft.

The provocations come a day after the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining NATO was part of the discussion between foreign ministers from the military alliance in Brussels.

That same day, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that in the event of Finnish or Swedish accession, Russia would have to “rebalance the situation” with its own measures.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it says aims among other things to degrade Ukraine’s military potential and prevent it becoming a bridgehead for a NATO attack, has prompted the two Nordic countries to consider joining the U.S.-led alliance.

[Why Putin faces more NATO in the Arctic after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine]

Since the invasion began on Feb. 24 public opinion polls commissioned by Finnish media outlets have shown a swift U-turn with the majority of Finns now favoring joining NATO.

Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters earlier that Finland will clarify next steps in the coming weeks regarding a possible decision to seek NATO membership.

Additional reporting by Daphne Psaledakis in Brussels. This story combines multiple Reuters reports.