RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – A senior intelligence officer in the US Senate has identified the threat of cyberattacks as Russia continues to escalate its unprovoked attack in Ukraine.
Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the next few hours were of particular concern after Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised unprecedented revenge if anyone interfered with his efforts.
“We need to bring down Putin,” Warner said Thursday during a visit to NASA’s Virginia facility.
“If we get into cyber-escalation, which may begin after the imposition of sanctions, we will go back to unknown territory.”
Warner also said that if Russian cyberattacks eventually harmed NATO allies, “we would suddenly find ourselves outside the hypothetical sphere” so that NATO countries would adhere to an agreement under which each country would launch a counterattack.
“I just hope and pray that the only front that our allies and I have created is holding him back because I think he doesn’t know what will happen,” Warner said.
As Russian missiles, tanks and troops increasingly conquer Ukraine, Democrats such as Senator Tim Kane have expressed optimism about President Biden’s harsh sanctions.
“This would indeed have punitive consequences not only for the Russian economy, but also for some of the oligarchs who surround Vladimir Putin,” Kane said Wednesday night during a visit to Richmond High School.
However, sanctions have not yet stopped Putin, and President Biden has said any harmful effects of the sanctions will take time.
“No one expected sanctions to prevent anything,” Biden said.
However, the crisis remains relevant. Senator Warner tweeted Thursday night: “Direct attacks on Kyiv seem to be beginning. But they meet resistance from the Ukrainian people, including the civilian population. “
This intelligence information, mentioned by Warner, was quickly reflected in reports in the Ukrainian capital, where explosions were heard continuously for almost 24 hours after the first incident in the country.