A huge cyberattack responsible for knocking out over 2,000 websites in the country of Georgia last year was carried out by Russia, according to Georgia, the UK and the US.

The UK government says that the Russian military intelligence agency GRU was behind the “attempt to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty” and Former Secretary Dominic Raab described this as “totally unacceptable”. However, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has denied any involvement, according to the Russian state-operated domestic news agency RIA.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that the GRU was “almost certainly” behind last year’s attacks which affected a number of websites in Georgia including the country’s presidential site and the site of its national TV broadcaster.

According to NCSC, the attack was the first significant example of a GRU cyberattack since 2017. GRU has targeted Russia’s neighboring countries in the past and the agency launched attacks against Ukraine’s electrical grid in 2015 and in 2016.

Former Secretary Dominic Raab condemned Russia’s actions in Georgia last year, saying: 

“The GRU’s reckless and brazen campaign of cyber-attacks against Georgia, a sovereign and independent nation, is totally unacceptable. The Russian government has a clear choice: continue this aggressive pattern of behavior against other countries, or become a responsible partner which respects international law.”

As a result of GRU’s cyberattack on Georgia, many of the country’s websites had their homepages replaced with an image of former President Mikheil Saakashvili with a caption which read “I’ll be back”. 

Saakashvili served two terms as president in Georgia between 2004 and 2013. However, he gave up his Georgian citizenship in 2015 when he became governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region. Saakashvili is currently wanted in Georgia on criminal charges though he claims the charges are politically motivated.

Via BBC