OSLO (Reuters) - Russia was behind a cyber attack launched against the Norwegian parliament in August, the Norwegian foreign minister said on Tuesday, an accusation Russia denies.
On Sept. 1, the Norwegian parliament said it had sustained a cyber attack during the previous week and that the email accounts of several lawmakers and employees had been hacked.
"Based on the information available to the government, it is our assessment that Russia stood behind this activity," Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.
The Russian Embassy in Oslo said Norway's accusations that Moscow was behind the cyber attacks were not backed up with evidence and were unacceptable.
"We regard this as a serious deliberate provocation, harmful for bilateral relations," the embassy said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
When Norwegian authorities announced the incident in September, they did not say who they thought was behind the attack.
"The fact that we go out with an attribution is a strong signal... from Norwegian authorities," Soereide told reporters.
Norway wanted to have a pragmatic relationship with Russia, but couldn't accept such attacks against its most important democratic institution, she added, when asked whether the attack would have consequences for the relationship between Norway and Russia.
"We cannot accept that parliament is the subject of such attacks."
Norway, a member of NATO, has a border with Russia in the Arctic.
Hackers backed by the Russian state have been blamed for a number of cyber attacks against Western private and public institutions.
The latest includes attempts to steal COVID-19 vaccine research and to hack a firm working with U.S. presidential candidate Democrat Joe Biden, which Russia has also denied.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Nerijus Adomaitis, additional reporting by Moscow bureau; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Bernadette Baum)