For the first time in history, the European Union has imposed sanctions on organisations and citizens of Russia, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for cyber attacks or involvement in them.

According to the press service of the Council of the European Union, four Russian citizens and the Main Center for Special Technologies of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were subject to restrictions.

The report states that Russians Alexei Morenets, Yevgeny Serebryakov, Oleg Sotnikov and Alexei Minin are on the “blacklist” and are believed to be involved in an attempt to hack the computer network of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. Then, the Netherlands stated that these Russians are employees of the Russian Intelligence (GRU).

Economic restrictions have also been imposed on people believed to have been involved in cyber attacks, commonly known as WannaCry, NotPetya and Operation Cloud Hopper.

The imposed sanctions include a ban on travel to the European Union and the freezing of assets. In addition, EU individuals and legal entities are prohibited from providing access to accounts to blacklisted people and organisations.

It should be recalled that in early June, the German government proposed that EU member states jointly impose sanctions against Russia for a large-scale cyber attack on the German parliament in 2015. A decision in this case has not yet been made, but the investigative team that dealt with the case is convinced that the Russian military intelligence service of the GRU is behind the hacker attack.

In 2019, the European Union agreed on a regime that allows economic restrictions on cyber attacks. It is believed that this is part of the wider use of diplomatic tools to prevent hacker attacks on EU countries.

Bohdan Marusyak

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