The EU Official Journal on October 22nd released the names of the target individuals and organizations that the bloc said were responsible for or involved in the cyberattack on the Bundestag information system in April and May 2015.
During the attack, the operation of the system was interrupted for several days, a “substantial” amount of data was stolen and the e-mail accounts of several MPs, including that of Chancellor Angela Merkel, were “affected”, said the EU.
The British government announced shortly afterwards that it would apply the EU sanctions, and Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement that his country “stands shoulder to shoulder with Germany and our European partners in order to hold Russia accountable for cyber attacks that are intended to undermine Western democracies”.
The asset-freezing unit is a unit within the GRU’s 85th Main Special Service Center (GTsSS), also known as Military Unit 26165, whose officers, according to the EU, participated in the cyber attack against the Bundestag.
Those affected by asset freezes and travel bans include GTsSS official Dmitry Badin, who was part of the team that carried out the cyberattack, according to the EU.
The EU also targeted Igor Kostyukov, saying that as the head of the GRU, he was responsible for the cyberattacks carried out by the GTsSS.
The block also found that GTsSS military intelligence officers were involved in the attempted hacking of the Wi-Fi network of the Hague-based Chemical Weapons Prohibition Organization in April 2018.
Kostyukov was sanctioned by the EU in 2018 for his role in the almost fatal poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Great Britain
The German public prosecutor’s office has issued an arrest warrant against Badin, which has already been wanted by the US authorities and is believed to be part of the APT28 or Fancy Bear hacker group.
In May, Merkel said Berlin had “hard evidence” of the involvement of the “Russian armed forces” in the 2015 cyberattacks in which documents were stolen from her own parliamentary office and called the actions “outrageous”.
Moscow has denied any involvement.
The EU first used its sanctions regime in July in connection with cyber attacks against the bloc or its member states.
The council’s latest decision means that a total of eight people – six Russian and two Chinese citizens – and four companies – two Russian, one Chinese and one North Korean – have been exposed to restrictive measures.
A week ago the European Union and Great Britain imposed on six senior Russian officials and a unit for the ‘Attempt attemptedBy the Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in August. A businessman affiliated with the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was also hit for his alleged role in the Libyan civil war.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE / RL, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036
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