Merkel cites 'hard evidence' she was targeted by Russian hackers

Merkel cites 'hard evidence' she was targeted by Russian hackers
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers on Wednesday that she has seen "hard evidence" pointing to Russia being responsible for hacking attempts targeting her emails and those of the nation's lawmakers.

In a speech to Germany's parliament, Merkel vowed to continue seeking improved diplomatic relations with Russia but asserted that "outrageous" spying attempts, such as attacks targeting emails from 2015, made such progress difficult, Euronews reported.

"I can say honestly that this pains me. On the one hand, I work every day for a better relationship with Russia, and when you see on the other hand that there is such hard evidence that Russian forces are involved in acting this way, this is an area of tension," she said.

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"Of course we always reserve the right to take measures, including against Russia," Merkel continued.

Russia has reportedly denied any involvement in the hacking of Merkel's emails, which was first reported in German magazine Der Spiegel last week.

"I get the impression that they picked up relatively indiscriminately what they could get," Merkel said of the hacking efforts. "[N]aturally, this doesn't make it easier" to pursue relations with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe tragedy of Trump's foreign policy Steele's dossier: 'Clown show' or the greatest Russian coup? US 'deeply troubled' by escalating conflict in Libya MORE's government, she continued.

Amid tensions between the two countries, the German government in December expelled two Russian diplomats after federal prosecutors alleged that either Moscow or the Russian republic of Chechnya was responsible for the murder of a Georgian national in Berlin.