St. Petersburg: Several media outlets in Russia`s St. Petersburg city, and a popular online news broadcaster, Dozhd (Rain), came under hacker attack Thursday.
"There has been a DDoS attack going since (Thursday) morning. Our IT service is doing everything possible to get the site back up and running. This is a very serious attack," said the editor-in-chief of the St. Petersburg-based online newspaper Fontaka.ru.
Other sites affected include Novaya Gazeta and Ekho Moskvy in St Petersburg.
While no one from Novaya Gazeta in St. Petersburg was available for comment, Ekho Moskvy`s St. Petersburg editor said, "Yes, the site is down. IT teams are working on it. We suspect a hacker attack."
Popular online TV network Dozhd posted a statement on Facebook, explaining the situation. "Dear friends, the site www.tvrain.ru is temporarily unavailable - we are under DDoS attack."
The statement described the attack as "more serious than we initially thought", but reassured viewers that they were "doing everything possible to get back online" and mentioned that some of their content were available online.
By 3 p.m. Moscow time, Fontanka.ru was back online, but the Novaya Gazeta and Ekho Moskvy sites were still down, as was that of Dozhd TV.
Russian internet users also reported problems with the nationwide sites for Novaya Gazeta, Ekho Moskvy and Russian Forbes.
Many of the publications affected are viewed in Russia as less influenced by self-censorship and more closely aligned to the opposition than mainstream Russian media.
Later, the Khomyachki (Little Hamsters) group of "patriotic hackers" posted a video on its site claiming responsibility for the attacks, saying they were timed to coincide with Victory Day.
There has been no independent verification of the source of the attack or the veracity of this claim.