UK joins EU in sanctioning Russians for 2015 cyber attack

The U.K. will enforce asset freezes and travel bans against two Russian intelligence officers over their involvement in 2015 cyber attack on the German parliament.

After the EU imposed sanctions on the GRU military intelligence service earlier Thursday, the U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain stood with Europe.

“The U.K. stands shoulder to shoulder with Germany and our European partners to hold Russia to account for cyber attacks designed to undermine Western democracies,” he said in a statement announcing the sanctions against two GRU officers and the GRU’s military intelligence unit 26165 — codenamed APT28 and Fancy Bear.

“This criminal behavior brings the Russian government into further disrepute.”

GRU cyber units were widely identified as the culprit behind the hack of the German parliament in 2015, which sought to install software to give the attackers permanent access to computers in the building. The email accounts of several MPs — including Chancellor Angela Merkel — were affected.

“The cyber-attack against the German federal parliament targeted the parliament’s information system and affected its operation for several days. A significant amount of data was stolen and email accounts of several MPs as well as of Chancellor Angela Merkel were affected,” the Council of the European Union said in its listing.

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