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Germany Threatens Sanctions Against Russian National Over Hacking Attacks On Bundestag

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there was “hard evidence” on the involvement of "Russian forces" in a 2015 cyberattack against the German parliament.

Germany's Foreign Ministry has threatened EU sanctions against "those responsible" for a 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament, including a Russian national as a diplomatic dispute between the two countries intensifies.

The ministry said in a statement on May 28 that it had summoned the Russian ambassador to Berlin to deliver the message, saying evidence showed that Dmitry Badin was working for the Russian intelligence agency at the time of the attack.

German prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Badin, who was already being sought by U.S. authorities and is believed to be part of the hacker group known as APT28, or Fancy Bear, on May 5.

"The Russian ambassador was informed that on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the [German] federal prosecutor's office on May 5 against Russian national Dmitry Badin, that the German government will seek in Brussels to use the EU cybersanctions regime against those responsible for the attack on the German Bundestag, including Mr. Badin," the ministry said in a statement.

"There is reliable evidence that [Badin] was a member of [Russia's] GRU military secret service at the time of the attack." the statement added.

Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that there was “hard evidence” of the involvement of "Russian forces" in a 2015 cyberattack against the German parliament in which documents from her own parliamentary office were reportedly stolen.

On May 27, the Russian Embassy in Berlin denied any involvement in the cyberattacks on the Bundestag, saying that the issue is being used by Berlin to divert attention away from problems over the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia's Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment on the German move.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry also said its assessment was influenced by an ongoing investigation into the killing of a former Chechen separatist fighter, Georgian native Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, in Berlin in August 2019.

The apparent assassination led to an exchange of diplomatic expulsions between Berlin and Moscow.

The German government “expressly reserves the right to take further measures," the ministry said.

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