Ukraine’s main mobile operator Kyivstar on Wednesday said its service was being gradually restored after being hit by an unprecedented cyberattack that Kyiv blamed on Russian hackers.

On Tuesday an attack paralysed the networks of Kyivstar and its 24 million subscribers, with Ukraine’s SBU security service contributing to the repairs.

“Our specialists have started to restore telephone calls in all of Ukraine,” Kyivstar spokeswoman Irina Lelichenko said on Facebook.

The return of services would be “gradual” and problems could remain as teams worked to restore text message and data services, she added.

Kyivstar users in the capital Kyiv were still unable to speak on phones or to receive air raid alert texts earlier on Wednesday, after a ballistic missile attack wounded over 50 people and caused widespread damage.


Users rushed to shops to buy SIM cards from Ukraine’s other two operators, but they were hard to find.

Around 40 people, wrapped up in heavy winter coats, were queueing up in the hopes of buying one from a downtown store belonging to Vodafone, the country’s second largest operator.

The last cards were sold out by midday in an outlet in the city centre, and none were available at a small Lifecell shop nearby.

Residents of several regions also said they were struggling to take cash out.

In the southern Zaporizhzhia region, some terminals in pharmacies and supermarkets were not working, while street lighting was out in some places in the northern Chernigiv region.

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The Okhmatdyt Hospital is a children's specialist facility where families from across the country bring children for the treatment of serious medical conditions, such as cancer and kidney disease.

In its statement on Wednesday, the SBU accused hackers belonging to a Russian military intelligence unit, the GRU, of being behind the hacking.

“A group of Russian pseudo-hackers has already claimed responsibility for the attack,” it said.

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