A message warning of a nuclear missile strike on Russian soil momentarily interrupted TV and radio broadcasts in Yekaterinburg, Moscow, and the Sverdlovsk regions of Russia, Telegraph reported.
Citizens were advised to take calcium iodide pills, put on gas masks, and seek shelter immediately.
The Russian emergencies ministry revealed that a widespread cyber attack on government broadcasters was to blame for the false alert.
‘A false air raid alert was broadcast in Moscow after servers of radio stations and TV channels were hacked,’ the Russian emergencies ministry said per Insider Paper.
“Nuclear strike has been conducted, please go to the shelter, take your calcium iodide pills,” the warning said.
Another footage(longer version of the broadcasted message) pic.twitter.com/ZTSltc4gfE
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) March 9, 2023
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The warning was the third time Russian broadcasters had been targeted with similar stunts in the past month.
The Telegraph could not immediately verify the reports that originated in Russia.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though a number of cyber hacks targeting Russia have been carried out by pro-Ukranian groups.
Last month, Russian regional broadcasters put out a false warning urging people to take shelter from an incoming missile attack.
The messages were broadcast into Crimea, the peninsula illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.
At the time, Russian state media blamed Ukraine for the messages.
A week earlier, a similar warning was broadcast across radio stations and websites run by Russia’s state television conglomerate during Vladimir Putin’s annual state of the nation address.
Some commentators suggested they could have been false flag attempts by the Kremlin to prepare Russians for an escalation in the conflict in Ukraine.
Kyiv has never taken responsibility for any of the alleged cyber attacks on Russian broadcasters.