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German minister tells Russia its behavior must change

From Reuters - April 15, 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday criticized Russia for a series of activities beyond its borders, blaming it for a cyber attack on his own ministry, and said Moscow must change its ways.

Maas listed a series of what he called problematic actions that also included the lack of progress in implementing a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, a poison gas attack in Britain, support for the Syrian government, and efforts to influence Western elections.

We had an attack on the Foreign Ministry where we have to assume that it stemmed from Russia, he told the German broadcaster ZDF. We cant just wish all that away ... And I think its not only reasonable but necessary to point out that we do not view those as constructive contributions.

German government officials in February disclosed what they called an isolated cyber attack on the government computer network that was first discovered in December.

The head of Germanys domestic intelligence agency last week said there was a high likelihood that Moscow was behind the attack.

Maas, a Social Democrat who has adopted a tougher stance on Russia than his predecessors from the same party, told the other German public broadcaster, ARD, on Sunday that Moscow had been an increasingly difficult partner but Berlin was committed to maintaining dialogue, particularly on the crisis in Syria.

It is time, I think, to point out that we expect constructive contributions from the Russian side, including on the Syrian conflict. And also that they dont always simply protect (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad, he said.

TENSIONS RUNNING HIGH

Russia has denied any efforts to influence Western elections, and scoffed at suggestions it was behind the cyber attack in Germany. It also denied involvement in a poison gas attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain.

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