Lloyds Banking Group is on “heightened alert” for cyber attacks amid fears Russia will look to retaliate against sanctions.

The lending giant said it has been part of sector talks with the Government on Russia sanctions and the potential for cyber attacks by Russian hackers.

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine this morning, with President Vladimir Putin announcing the move in a televised address early on Thursday morning.

He added that Russia does not have a goal to occupy Ukraine but said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.

Bury Times: (PA)(PA)

Mr Putin also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.

Speaking after reporting the group’s annual results this morning, Lloyds chief executive Charlie Nunn said all of the bank’s security and controls are at a “heightened and elevated level”.

“We’ve been working closely with the Government over the last two weeks,” he added.

He stressed that the group has been investing “significantly” in cybersecurity over the past five years.

UK response to Putin’s announcement

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction” with his attack on Ukraine and that the UK and its allies would respond “decisively”.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Johnson said he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss “next steps”.

“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” he said.

“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”