U.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Republic of Georgia

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Early in Mr. Trump’s administration, the White House cybercoordinator announced that there was evidence that Russia was the source of the NotPetya attack. That strike was aimed at crippling Ukraine but resulted in considerable collateral damage, including the shipping operations at Maersk and Federal Express.

During his now-famous July 25, 2019, telephone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Trump appeared to be seeking to deflect blame from Russia and its intelligence units for the attacks on the Democratic National Committee in 2016. “The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Mr. Trump said, according to a reconstructed transcript released by the White House last fall. In fact, the primary server — one of several — is blocks from the White House at the committee’s headquarters.

The attack on Georgia was a classic act of disruption, though relatively modest by current standards. It affected more than 2,000 government and privately run websites, interfered with government operations and interrupted television broadcasts, including that of the national television station.

In the attack, for example, the image of a former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was pasted to the home pages of many sites, with the caption, “I’ll be back.”

Mr. Saakashvili served two terms from 2004 to 2013. He gave up his Georgian citizenship in 2015 and is wanted in the country on criminal charges, which he says are politically motivated.

Vladimer Konstantinidi, a spokesman for Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters at a news briefing on Thursday, “The investigation conducted by the Georgian authorities, together with information gathered through cooperation with partners, concluded that this cyberattack was planned and carried out by the main division of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

Mr. Pompeo pledged to support Georgia and other nations threatened by cyberaggression from Russia. “The United States calls on Russia to cease this behavior in Georgia and elsewhere,” he said. “The stability of cyberspace depends on the responsible behavior of nations.”

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