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″Evidence″ of Pegasus spyware piracy found in the European Commission

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According to a letter released on Thursday, the European Commission found “evidence” of Pegasus spyware infiltrating the mobile phones of several officials, notably against Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

In a letter Monday, Reynders told European MP Sophie in ‘t Veld, who received a warning from Apple last November, that her mobile phone could be the target of a possible attack by Israel’s National Statistical Office’s Pegasus software. Group.

According to a letter quoted today by Agence France-Presse (AFP), other members of the commission received similar notices.

The alerts prompted an investigation that “did not confirm that Pegasus could have contaminated the personal or professional devices of the commissioner” of justice or any other employee.

However, several inspections of these devices “led to the discovery of evidence of piracy,” the letter added, saying that “it is not possible to attribute this evidence with certainty to a specific perpetrator.”

The letter does not provide additional information about the outcome of the investigation, which is currently ongoing, and the commission did not report them for security reasons.

Asked about it today, a European Commission official declined to say how many mobile phones were affected.

For its part, the NSO said it was ready to “cooperate with any investigation to establish the truth,” according to a company spokesman who stressed that “to date, there is no absolute evidence that a violation occurred.”

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The letter from the commissioner and his colleague Johannes Hahn comes in response to a request for information from Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld, rapporteur of the European Parliament’s committee to investigate the use of Pegasus and other spyware against journalists. , politicians and representatives of civil society.

The European Commission sent letters to Hungary, Poland and Spain about the use of Pegasus, raising concerns about compliance with European privacy protection standards.

According to the European Commission, Hungary and Poland responded that the use of “software” is a matter of “national security” and not Community law, which is disputed by Brussels, while Spain has yet to comment.

Greek MEP Nikos Androulakis filed a complaint with the Greek Supreme Court on Tuesday over an attempt to spy on his mobile phone using Predator, a “spyware” similar to Pegasus.

The attempt was signaled by a service created by the European Parliament to allow MEPs to monitor the presence of illegal tracking software on their phones.

The Pegasus program was designed to fight criminals and terrorists, but was allegedly used to hack the mobile phones of international political leaders, journalists, human rights activists, or company directors.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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