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Germany recalls ambassador to Russia over hacker attack



The German government condemned the hack, which they said was by a state-controlled Russian cyber group.


Germany has recalled its ambassador to Russia for a week of consultations following an alleged hacker attack.

Last week, the German government accused Russian agents of hacking members of the board of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats party and other government targets.

The Foreign Office in Berlin said that the government is taking the latest incident “seriously” and that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had decided to call back German Ambassador Alexander Lambsdorff. He would return to Moscow after a week, it said.

“The German government takes this event very seriously as behaviour against our liberal democracy and the institutions that support it,” Foreign Office spokeswoman Kathrin Deschauer said.

Baerbock said last week that Russian military cyber operators were behind the hacking of emails of the Social Democrats, the leading party in the governing coalition.

Officials said the hackers had exploited Microsoft Outlook.

‘Irresponsible behaviour’

The German government condemned the hack, which they said was by the state-controlled Russian cyber group APT28.

“Such irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace violates international cyber norms and deserves special attention, especially in a year when elections are taking place in many countries,” according to a translated statement from the German embassy in Russia.

Germany’s interior ministry said last week that the hacking campaign began as early as March 2022, a month after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

It said German companies, including in the defence and aerospace sectors, as well as targets related to the war in Ukraine, were the focus of the hacking attacks. German officials said the attacks persisted for months.

In Prague, the Czech Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador over the attacks by the same APT28 group linked to Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit.

“I have decided to summon the Russian ambassador because of the cyber attacks against Czech institutions and critical infrastructure,” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said on X, the social media network.

“We have called on the Russian Federation to refrain from this behaviour, which is contrary to UN standards and its own obligations”.

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