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Pro-Russian Hackers Claim Cyberattack On German Government

A pro-Russian computer hacking group has claimed responsibility for a January 7 cyberattack on German government websites, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s page.

The group, called CyberBerkut, demanded Berlin stop "financial and political support" for Ukraine’s government.

Berkut refers to riot police deployed in Kyiv against protesters by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February 2014 after spurning a deal with the EU and turning toward Russia.

The group’s claim of responsibility, made on its website, could not be independently verified.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said the attacks began at 10 a.m. local time, leaving government websites periodically inaccessible.

He said the data center for the service provider was "under a severe attack" apparently "caused by a variety of external systems."

The attack began hours before Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was due to meet in Berlin with German President Joachim Gauck on January 7.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa