EU leaders order sanctions mechanism against cyber-attacks

European Council President Donald Tusk attends a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. EU leaders meet for a second day on Thursday to discuss migration, cybersecurity and to try and move ahead on stalled Brexit talks. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders have commissioned work on a new system for slapping sanctions on the perpetrators of cyberattacks, in the wake of the attack on the world chemical weapons watchdog.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday that the leaders want EU "ministers to work on a sanctions regime that will be specific to cyberattacks."

Tusk said the system "should help to protect our citizens, companies and institutions from all kinds of cybersecurity threats."

Dutch officials alleged two weeks ago that four agents from Russia's GRU military intelligence agency tried and failed to hack into the Wi-Fi system at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The leaders' demand comes amid concerns over possible election interference during the European Parliament vote in May.

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