Eastern Ukraine is full of rioters ready to separate from their nation’s government in Kiev — at least, that’s the message the Russian government may want to project to the world. And analysts believe the Kremlin could use cyberattacks to create more chaos and support its objectives.
Protesters in eastern Ukraine have clashed with police and stormed government buildings. A group of separatists who took over a building in Donetsk declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” and demanded a referendum for independence on May 11. In Luhansk, rebels raided an armory and took 56 hostages.
But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russian “special agents” of inciting the ruckus. Others claim there’s a Russian hand at play behind the curtain of what seems like a looming crisis, manufactured either as pretext for a Russian invasion or as a means to distract from the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.
Key to all this chaos is a sense of confusion about the state of Ukraine, the theory goes. The Kremlin has led the narrative that there is a widespread separatist movement in the eastern part of the country that the government in Kiev cannot control, and experts think the Russian government could up its game with a subtle cyber strategy.