The European Parliament named Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and its website was hit with a cyberattack Wednesday. File Photo by European Union/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Hackers hit the European Parliament website with a "sophisticated" cyberattack on Wednesday, shortly after the body declared Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The cyberattack disrupted the website's service moments after the members took their vote. The Parliament cannot officially designate Russia as a terrorism sponsor, but with its vote urged the European Union to do so.
"The [European Parliament] is under a sophisticated cyberattack," President Roberta Metsola said in a statement on Twitter. "A pro-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility. Our IT experts are pushing back against it and protecting our systems. This, after we proclaimed Russia as a state-sponsor of terrorism."
Jaume Duch, the European Parliament's spokesman, said the attack has created "high levels of external network traffic" from the breach.
"This traffic is related to a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) event," Duch said on Twitter. "EP teams are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."
Eva Kaili, Greek member and vice president of the European Parliament, said there is a strong indication that the pro-Russian group Killnet is behind the attack.
"This is my information, but it is under control," Kaili said. "It only cut the external access to the Parliament's website... Unless there is extra attacks we expect it to be back and accessible very soon."
Earlier in the day, the European Parliament voted 494-58, with 44 abstentions for a resolution recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, and called on European Union states to "put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list."
The designation would make Russia more vulnerable to more restrictive sanctions. And penalties by the European Union. The move was made in connection with Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its 10th month.