EU Denounces Alleged Russian Hacking Ahead of German Vote

The European Union on Friday condemned alleged Russian cyberattacks that have targeted Germany in the run-up to this weekend’s election for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor.

“Some EU Member States have observed malicious cyber activities, collectively designated as ‘Ghostwriter,’ and associated these with the Russian state,” foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“Such activities are unacceptable as they seek to threaten our integrity and security, democratic values and principles, and the core functioning of our democracies.”

Borrell’s statement said the EU and its member states “strongly denounce these malicious cyber activities, which all involved must put to an end immediately.”

“We urge the Russian Federation to adhere to the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace,” it said, adding that the bloc would “consider taking further steps.”

Berlin this month strongly criticized what it called Russian attempts to influence the September 26 election of a new parliament.

It pointed the finger at hackers from Russia’s “Ghostwriter” group which reportedly specializes in spreading disinformation.

German intelligence believes they have been trying to gain access to the private email accounts of federal and regional MPs.

German authorities say Russia’s military intelligence service GRU is behind the attacks and has targeted in particular politicians from Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD), news weekly Der Spiegel reported.

German federal prosecutors said they have opened “an investigation on suspicion of espionage” into the accusations.

Russia Raids Kill 11 Pro-Turkish Fighters in Syria – Monitor

At least 11 fighters from a pro-Turkish rebel group were killed Sunday in Russian air raids in northern Syria, a war monitor said Sunday.

The strikes hit a school used as a “military base” by the Al-Hamza Division outside the north Syria town of Afrin which has been under the control of Turkey and its Syrian rebel proxies since 2018, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Eleven fighters were killed and another 13 were wounded in the Russian strikes,” said the monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

It said the death toll could climb further amid ongoing efforts to pull victims from the rubble.

Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said such Russian raids are rare in this region of Syria, which has been controlled by Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies for three years.

A Russian raid outside Afrin last month targeted a position of Faylaq al-Sham, another Turkey-backed rebel group, he said.

A spokesperson for the National Army, a coalition of Turkey-backed rebel groups, called Sunday’s attack a “clear message from Russia” to Turkey, showing that there are no “red lines.”

Turkey supports Syrian rebel forces battling President Bashar Assad’s government and it has also launched multiple operations across Syria’s northern border against Kurdish forces and against the Islamic State group.

Russia, on the other hand, is a staunch supporter of the Syrian regime and has intervened militarily in support of Assad since 2015.

Although they back opposite sides, Ankara and Moscow have worked together to broker several ceasefire deals in Syria’s northwest, including a 2020 truce agreement in the Idlib region, the country’s last major opposition bastion.

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