Russia has a cyber army, defense minister acknowledges

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu speaks during the 5th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow, Russia on April 27. Shoigu acknowledged Tuesday that Russia has expanded what he called "information operation forces" involved in a cyber-war effort. Photo by Yuri Kochetkov/UPI

Feb. 23 (UPI) — Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu acknowledged Russia’s expanded effort in cyber-warfare for the first time.

Addressing Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday, Shoigu said an information army has been established within the Russian military. He did not offer details about the personnel or its targets.

“The information operations forces have been established that are expected to be a far more effective tool than all we used before for counter-propaganda purposes. Propaganda should be smart, competent and effective,” he said.

His statement follows allegations of cyberattacks against Western nations, with NATO believed to be a primary target, the BBC reported. The Russian effort is under analysis after accusations that Russian hackers influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential elections to the advantage of President Donald Trump.

Former Russian military commander-in-chief Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, commenting on Shoigu’s address, said an information warfare victory “can be much more important than victory in a classical military conflict, because it is bloodless, yet the impact is overwhelming and can paralyze all of the enemy state’s power structures.”


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