- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2020

Russia was roundly blamed Thursday for conducting a widespread and disruptive cyberattack waged late last year against the neighboring country of Georgia.

The U.S. joined Georgia and a number of allied nations in attributing the operation to the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Main Center for Special Technologies, a division of the GRU also known as Unit 74455 and Sandworm, carried out the campaign on Oct. 28.

“The incident, which directly affected the Georgian population, disrupted operations of several thousand Georgian government and privately run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations,” Mr. Pompeo said.

“This action contradicts Russia’s attempts to claim it is a responsible actor in cyberspace and demonstrates a continuing pattern of reckless Russian GRU cyber operations against a number of countries,” Mr. Pompeo continued, adding that those efforts “aim to sow division, create insecurity and undermine democratic institutions.”



The U.K. said the British National Cyber Security Centre, or NCSC, assessed “with the highest level of probability” that Russia’s GRU was responsible.

“The GRU’s reckless and brazen campaign of cyberattacks against Georgia, a sovereign and independent nation, is totally unacceptable,” said Dominic Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary.

Australia and multiple NATO member states issued similar statements blaming Russia, which denied responsibility through state-run media. Georgia is an aspiring NATO member.

Russia did not and does not intend to intervene in the internal affairs of Georgia,” the RIA newswire reported in Russian, citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko.

Georgia was previously a part of the Soviet Union prior to its dissolution in 1991. Russia went to war with the nation in 2008, and tensions between the two have remained high ever since.

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