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Russia Blamed for Georgia Cyber Attack That Risks Sanctions

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a man standing next to a traffic light on a city street: St Basil's Cathedral near Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

© Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/BloombergSt Basil’s Cathedral near Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

(Bloomberg) — Georgia accused Russian military intelligence of organizing a “paralyzing” cyber attack last year and called for a reaction by the international community.

Russia’s GRU was behind the “large-scale” October 2019 attack that targeted the presidential administration, various government bodies and media outlets in an attempt undermine its European integration, according to a Foreign Ministry statement Thursday.

EU member-state Estonia, the U.S. and the U.K joined Georgia in attributing the attack to the GRU. Poland also blamed Russia. Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko denied Russia was behind for the attacks, RIA Novosti reported.

The attribution of a cyber attack by an EU member state could pave the way for sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against Russian individuals, agencies, or companies, according to a new “cyber-sanctions regime” adopted by the bloc in 2019. Such measures, which would aim to “deter and respond to cyber-attacks which constitute an external threat to the EU,” are subject to unanimous approval by the bloc’s member states, which is often difficult to achieve on foreign policy matters.

Estonia hasn’t made a decision yet whether it will seek sanctions, Mart Luik, an adviser to the foreign minister, said via text message.You May Like

The GRU has been implicated in numerous hacking scandals around the globe, including the Democratic National Committee breach that roiled the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and the NotPetya ransomware that Merck & Co. claimed cost it $1.3 billion in losses the following year. Russia has denied involvement

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