Russia has banned senior German security and intelligence officials from entering the country in an expansion of the country”s travel ban.
The move by the Russian Foreign Ministry affects “the top officials of the German security and intelligence agencies, which are part of the FRG Ministry of Defense”, and comes in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow.
In October, the European Union sanctioned the head of Russia’s military intelligence, Igor Kostyukov, and another individual, accusing them of stealing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s emails in a 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament.
German Chancellor Merkel has said there was “hard evidence” that she was targeted by Russian hackers in 2015.
But in a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the allegations were “part of a media and political campaign” to introduce new unilateral sanctions.
The ministry added that it had “repeatedly appealed to German counterparties” to conduct a joint investigation to “identify the sources of malicious cyber activity”.
“However, the German authorities stubbornly ignore these proposals,” the ministry said, accusing Berlin and the EU of “destructive actions”.
Russia has not named the latest German officials affected by the travel ban.
But the foreign ministry added that they reserve the right to apply further response measures if German authorities continue the “confrontational line”.