German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has “hard evidence” that Russia hacked the website of Germany’s parliament in 2015 and allegedly stole documents from her own parliamentary office.
German news reports said prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for a suspected member of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.
“I can say honestly that this pains me,” Merkel said during a question-and-answer session with lawmakers Wednesday. “On the one hand, I work every day for a better relationship with Russia, and when you see on the other hand that there is such hard evidence that Russian forces are involved in acting this way, this is an area of tension."
Merkel said she was “very glad” investigators had identified someone she called a “concrete” suspect.
When asked about what the Russians were looking for, Merkel said she got “the impression that they picked up relatively indiscriminately what they could get.”
It was unclear what Russian was allegedly trying to find. German authorities would categorize it only as intelligence data on German organizations and institutions.
Merkel said that the charges didn’t make efforts to keep good relations with Russia easier and that Germany had the right to take measures against Russia or anyone who carried out such spying.
Russia has consistently denied conducting cyberattacks on Germany, the United States or any other Western nation.
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said the only time Russia broke into the German parliament was in 1945.