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Estonia in forefront of new EU cyber sanctions regime

Minster of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu
Minster of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu Source: Marko Mumm

Estonia is part of a group of European Union member states leading the efforts for the adoption of a cyber sanctions regime which saw six individuals and three entities punished for cyber attacks on July 30.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said Estonia is one of the leading forces within the EU on cyber diplomacy and cyber sanctions, and this sends an important signal at a time when many sectors are experiencing pressure from cyber attacks.

Reinsalu said in a press release: "Estonia has been one of the leading forces within the EU on cyber diplomacy. Today's decision is the result of our determined efforts and is a remarkable example of cyber attacks being followed by specific measures."

He added that recent months have increased the need to stand for a rules-based international order in cyberspace.

The Estonian foreign minister said: "It is important that countries recognise the applicability of international law to cyberspace and uphold the cyber stability framework created by the UN Group of Governmental Experts, including norms of responsible state behaviour. These norms also protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

On July 30, the EU implemented the first-ever sanctions from its new cyber diplomacy regime.

Sanctions were set against six individuals and three entities or bodies involved in launching or attempting to launch cyber operations against the EU, its member states, or international organisations.

The restrictive measures are a response to the attempted cyber-attack against the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and cyber attacks that are publicly known as WannaCry, NotPetya, and Operation Cloud Hopper.

Estonia has repeatedly condemned or expressed concern about irresponsible state behaviour in cyberspace. In relation to today's decision regarding the cyber sanctions regime, Estonia's Foreign Minister condemned Russia for NotPetya attacks in February 2018 and expressed Estonia's support to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in standing up against irresponsible cyber attacks in October 2018. In December 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared its concern about malicious cyber activities conducted by the Chinese Government.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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