Russian news website hacked, word "Russian" replaced with "Nazi" over Ukraine military action

Famously pro-Putin Russian news website RT.com was compromised by hackers this morning, who changed the word "Russian" in several articles to the word "Nazi" in apparent protest over Russian military movements in Crimea.

The hack was reported at about 5am GMT, which lead to news headlines such as: "Thousands rally against 'illegitimate govt', raise Nazi flags in eastern Ukraine" and "up to 143,000 Nazis requested asylum in Russia in two weeks", something which must have given casual visitors to the site reason to do a bit of a double-take.

The website of the multilingual pro-Putin news channel Russia Today (RT) tweeted that "RT website has been hacked, we are working to resolve the problem".

The defaced articles were only online for about half an hour before the RT.com webmasters removed the changes.

At 5:30am, the site tweeted: "Hackers deface http://RT.com website, crack admin access, place "Nazi" in every headline. Back to normal now."

The attacks were reminiscent of recent attacks by the Syrian Electronic Armyagainst American companies such as PayPal and eBay, and false reports posted on the Associated Press Twitter feed in April of last year that falsely reported an explosion at the White House.

RT has been criticised in the past for being nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Kremlin, and has been described by journalists as participating in "Soviet-style propaganda campaigns".

Andrey Illarionov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, once labelled the channel as "the best Russian propaganda machine targeted at the outside world."

While it is registered as an autonomous non-profit organisation, RT is funded by the federal budget of Russia through the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, and is therefore entirely bankrolled by the Kremlin.

Russian troops are currently surrounding airports, government buildings and military bases in the semi-autonomous region of Crimea, in what Ukraine has called a "military invasion and occupation."