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Russia accused of ‘Ghostwriter’ cyberattacks ahead of German election

<i>Kay Nietfeld/Picture Alliance/Getty Images</i><br/>The Reichstag building in Berlin
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
Kay Nietfeld/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
The Reichstag building in Berlin

By Vasco Cotovio, CNN

The European Commission has accused Russia of trying to interfere in European democratic processes just days before Sunday’s parliamentary election in Germany.

In a statement on Friday, the European Commission said: “EU Member States have observed malicious cyber activities, collectively designated as Ghostwriter, and associated these with the Russian state.”

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

The accusations happen as Germans are set to take to the polls to choose a successor for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is stepping down after 16 years in the job.

According to the EU, the attacks targeted “numerous members of Parliaments, government officials, politicians, and members of the press and civil society in the EU by accessing computer systems and personal accounts and stealing data.”

German politicians and officials were among those targeted by Russian malicious cyber activities, an EU official told CNN on Friday. CNN is also seeking Russian comment on the European Commission statement.

“These activities are contrary to the norms of responsible State behaviour in cyberspace as endorsed by all UN Member States, and attempt to undermine our democratic institutions and processes, including by enabling disinformation and information manipulation,” the statement also said.

“The European Union 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 behaviour in cyberspace.”

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