Pro-Russian group claims responsibility for Merkel website hack

The Internet attack occurred just prior to a visit to Germany by the Ukrainian prime minister.

AP
The Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 screenshot shows the address line of an internet browser that is unable to open the internet page of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Several German government sites have been blocked though there is no reliable information who is behind it.

German government websites including Chancellor Angela Merkel's page were hacked on Wednesday in a cyber attack claimed by a group demanding that Berlin sever official ties with the Ukrainian government.

The attack, against which counter-measures were taken, had left the sites periodically inaccessible since 10 a.m., her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

"Our service provider's data center is under a severe attack that has apparently been caused by a variety of external systems," he told a news conference when asked if Ukrainian hackers were responsible.

In a statement on its website, a group calling itself CyberBerkut took responsibility.

'Berkut' is a reference to the riot squads used by the government of Ukraine's former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted during violent protests last February.

"CyberBerkut has blocked German Chancellor and the Bundestag's (lower parliamentary house) websites," it said on www.cyber-berkut.org.

The claim could not be independently verified.

"We appeal (to) all people and (the) government of Germany to stop financial and political support of criminal regime in Kiev, which unleashed a bloody civil war," it said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk is due to meet with German President Joachim Gauck in Berlin later on Wednesday.

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