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EU ‘to impose sanctions’ on Russia, China, North Korea over cyberattacks

Cyberattacks. (medithIT/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

European Union ambassadors have given the green light to sanctions on Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit, as well as on Chinese and North Korean entities over three separate cyberattacks in recent years.

Several sources familiar with the file told RFE/RL on July 22 that the ambassadors decided to freeze assets of the GRU, China’s Tianjin Huaying Haitai Science & technology development Co., and North Korea’s Chosun Expo.

They also will freeze potential funds held by all three in the bloc and impose visa bans on six unnamed citizens from China and Russia who the bloc believe are behind the WannaCry, NotPetya and Cloud Hopper cyberattacks.

The sanctions, which will be formally adopted before the end of July, are the first ever imposed by the EU under its new cybersanctions regime, which was adopted last year and allows the bloc to implement visa bans and asset freezes on people and entities involved in cyberattacks both against EU member states and third countries and international organizations.

The attacks, which have been linked to the three countries by various intelligence agencies, hit several EU member states and other countries around the world.

Separately, sources said the European Union is also working on listing two additional individuals, as well as one entity, all from Russia, who Berlin claims were involved in a 2015 cyberattack against the German Bundestag.