Vladimir Putin is using crippling hack attacks on Ukraine as training to wage cyberwar on the West, top hacker warns

VLADIMIR Putin is using crippling hack attacks on Ukraine as training to wage cyberwar against the West, a top hacker has warned.

Andrei Baranovich, 43, from Donetsk, best known as Sean Townsend claims Russia has launched a number of cyber attacks on Ukraine in a bid to destabilise the country.

The IT expert told the Times that the Ukraine's cyber security had flaws that left the country vulnerable.

He said that he trained himself as a hacker back in 2014, as he was determined to take revenge for the annexation of Crimea.

The conflictwas the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War which escalated after Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych was driven from power after violent protests.

Baranovich was initially praised for his hacking against the Russia but that changed when he revealed flaws in Ukraine's security system.

''We had access to the computers of ministries responsible for justice and health, without using any special tools. We even found that atomic plants were vulnerable,'' he said.

Baranovich has been working as a volunteer with the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance which leaked e-mails of Vladislav Surkov, nicknamed by some as Putin’s Rasputin.

The documents revealed plans of seizing Crimea and how Moscow used ''dirty tricks'' when the invasion happened in 2014.

His comments come just days after President Joe Biden called Russia's Vladimir Putin and demanded he act to shut down ransomware groups that are attacking the west.

Biden said that he spoke to Putinand "we expect them to act."

Last week it was revealed that the Royal Navy vessel HMS Queen Elizabeth was being stalked by a Russian submarine in the Black Sea.

Two Merlin Mk2 helicopters were scrambled to search for the vessel.

Along with HMS Queen Elizabeth, another two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates and two support vessels were also stalked as she sailed off the coast of Cyprus last month.

Earlier this month a Russian fighter jets rehearsed bombing enemy ships in the Black Sea.

It was only a few days after threatening to sink a British warships sailing through the region.

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin said he could attack any vessel because the West knows "full well that they can't win in that war".

The Russian president said: "Even if we had sunk the British destroyer near Crimea it is unlikely that the world would have been on the verge of World War Three.

"Those who are doing this know that they couldn't be the winners in this war.

"We are on our land. We're fighting for ourselves and our future."

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