BERLIN (AP) – Germany said Thursday it is seeking EU sanctions against a Russian man over his alleged role in the hacking of the German parliament at a time when evidence shows he was working for Russian intelligence.
Germanyâ€™s Foreign Ministry said it called in Russian ambassador Sergei Nechayev to inform him in person of the move.
Senior German diplomat Miguel Berger â€œstrongly condemned the attack on Germanyâ€™s parliament in the name of the German governmentâ€ while meeting with Nechayev, the ministry said.
Berger told Nechayev that Germany would be pursuing EU sanctions against Russian citizen Dmitriy Badin, and possibly others, under a new regime established last year to respond to cyberattacks, the ministry said.
He referred to a warrant issued May 5 by federal German prosecutors for Badin, an alleged officer with Russiaâ€™s GRU military intelligence agency. Badin was already being sought by U.S. authorities and is believed to be part of the hacker group known as APT28, or Fancy Bear.
German prosecutors allege that Badin, â€œacting jointly with other persons not yet identified,â€ had â€œundertaken an intelligence operation against Germany for the intelligence service of a foreign power,â€ the ministry said.
â€œThe accused is suspected of being responsible for the hacker attack on the German parliament in April/May 2015 as a member of the APT28 group,â€ the ministry said. â€œThere is reliable evidence that he was a member of the GRU military intelligence agency at the time of the attack.â€
The Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this month there was â€œhard evidenceâ€ that correspondence from her parliamentary office was among the documents targeted in the attack.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement by Moscow in the 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament, calling the German accusations groundless. They have similarly dismissed charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and alleged cyberattacks on other Western nations and institutions.
Diplomatic ties between Germany and Russia are already tense, following the brazen killing of a Georgian man on the streets of Berlin last year. Prosecutors have suggested the hit was ordered either by Moscow or authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
Russian national Vadim Sokolov was arrested near the scene and is accused of carrying out the killing with official help. The case has already led to tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats from Berlin and Moscow.
Noting the ongoing investigation of the slaying, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday it â€œreserves the right to take further measuresâ€ beyond the sanctions against Badin.
This story has been corrected to show the suspect’s surname is Badin, not Baden.
Frank Jordans in Berlin and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this story