07:01 GMT29 March 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has blamed Russia for a wave of cyberattacks on Georgia last October and believes the operations aimed to sow division in the country, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday.

    "On 28 October 2019, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Main Centre for Special Technologies (GTsST, also known as Unit 74455 and Sandworm) carried out a widespread disruptive cyber attack against the country of Georgia," Pompeo said. "The United States calls on Russia to cease this behaviour in Georgia and elsewhere."

    ​Senior officials in Moscow swiftly denied the allegations, saying Russia has never meddled in Gerogia's domestic affairs.

    "Russia has never meddled in Georgia's internal affairs anyhow, and has no intention to do it", Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said on Thursday.

    Pompeo did not provide any evidence to substantiate his claim that Russia was behind the attacks, which he said targeted several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcasts of at least two television stations.

    But the top US diplomat said the attacks were part of a pattern of "reckless" actions against several countries.

    "These operations aim to sow division, create insecurity, and undermine democratic institutions", he said.

    Pompeo vowed that the US would support to Georgia so that it can enhance its cybersecurity and guard itself against malicious cyberactors.

    "We will offer additional capacity building and technical assistance to help strengthen Georgia’s public institutions and improve its ability to protect itself from these kinds of activities", he said.

    The Pentagon meanwhile also pledged to support Georgia and help the country "strengthen its security and resilience."

    "The US Government position has been clear, we will defend our partners' and allies' core interests and hold the Russian Federation accountable for these destabilising activities", Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement.

    The United States and its allies have repeatedly accused Russia of waging cyberattacks on other countries, but Moscow has consistently denied the allegations.

    The head of the country's Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov in October warned that global terrorist organisations and other malicious actors have the capacity to disguise cyberattacks so that they appear to have been waged by certain nations.

     

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    Georgia, Russia, US
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