The West does not yet have a detailed plan of response to cyber-attacks from Russia, but the consequences can be very different, depending on the scale of the attacks.

The United States and its allies are ready to respond to Russian cyberattacks with appropriate actions or sanctions, depending on the severity of the hackers’ actions, sources in the administration of the United States and EU countries said.

President Joe Biden, who delivered an address a few hours after it became known about cyber-attacks against the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and two Ukrainian banks, stressed that Washington is closely coordinating its actions with NATO allies and other partners to strengthen protection against cyber threats.

The attacks, which, according to Western cybersecurity experts, were committed by Russia, did not come as a surprise, said representatives of the White House and the governments of several European countries, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Russian Federal Security Service has not yet responded to Reuters’ request for comment.

“The president said that we will respond to other actions of Russia if it decides not to resort to a military invasion,” said one of the official representatives of the United States. – The decision will be made depending on the scale of cyber-attacks. The range is so vast that [now] it is difficult to go into details.”

One of the European diplomats noted that Russia has long made cyber-attacks a component of its strategy, and such actions were taken by Moscow during previous military clashes with Georgia and Ukraine.

“This is part of their training manual,” the source said, stressing the West’s determination to act in concert in order to hold Moscow accountable for cyber-attacks and other “illegal actions.”

According to sources, despite the fact that the authorities of the United States, the European Union and Canada have developed a detailed package of sanctions in case of an invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine, the West does not yet have a similar detailed plan in case of a cyber-attack from Moscow.

This is partly due to the fact that it may take time to accurately identify those responsible for cybercrimes, especially in the case of DDOS attacks, when hackers direct the flow of Internet traffic to a server or other target from multiple sources at once.

More aggressive and destructive attacks will entail a harsher response. Some countries, including France, in principle prefer to avoid public accusations of committing cyber-attacks, one of the European sources said.

The response to cyber-attacks may include not only sanctions, but also “mirror” attacks on servers used by criminals, said one of the Western experts on cybersecurity.

The “black lists” already include the names of many Russian citizens brought to justice for committing cyber-attacks in the past, however, according to two sources, there may be many more such people.

Negotiations between American and European officials in recent weeks have focused more on clarifying the sanctions that can be imposed in the event of a physical invasion and their impact on Russia and on the states imposing sanctions, rather than drawing up action plans in case of a cyber-attack, a source in the European leadership said.

“There is no detailed plan of action in case of a cyber-attack,” the European diplomat said. “Everything will depend on the specific case.”