A screengrab of the hacked osinform.ru website.
Two news websites run by breakaway South Ossetia were hacked on Tuesday morning, officials from the secessionist authorities said.
The front page of the website of the news agency, OSinform - osinform.ru - which is run by the breakaway region’s state radio and television station IR - retained the agency's header and logo, but otherwize the entire page was featuring Alania TV's website content, including its news and images. Alania TV is supported by the Georgian government, and targets audiences in the breakaway region.
Another website of the breakaway region’s radio and television station - osradio.ru – was also hacked.
Alania TV has denied any involvement, saying it was itself surprised to see its content on the rival news agency’s website.
Original content on the osinform.ru website was restored at about 2:30pm local time on August 5.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Medoev, the South Ossetian secessionist envoy in Moscow, told the Regnum news agency that the attack on the websites came shortly after they had run news that 29 Georgian servicemen were allegedly killed during the recent flare-up on August 1 and 2 in the region. Medoev claimed that Tbilisi was trying to cover up the deaths. The South Ossetian side has claimed that the Georgian servicemen were killed after a truck carrying them was hit by a South Ossetian SPG anti tank gun. The Georgian side has insisted it suffered no fatalities as a result of the recent violence. It says only one policeman and six civilians were injured.
The website of the Tskhinvali-backed Press and Information Committee – cominf.org – has not been hacked.