Czech police, in collaboration with the FBI, have arrested a Russian national in Prague in connection with cyberattacks that targeted the United States. (Reuters)

A Russian man thought to have connections to hacking in the United States has been arrested in the Czech Republic, authorities there said Tuesday.

Czech police worked with the FBI to detain the man at a hotel in Prague, according to a statement published online Tuesday evening.

The arrest is not related to the Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations or the ongoing probe of Russian interference in the U.S. election, federal law enforcement officials said.

“As cyber crime can originate anywhere in the world, international cooperation is crucial to successfully defeat cyber adversaries,” the FBI said in a press statement Wednesday. The arrest, the bureau noted, was made pursuant to an INTERPOL red notice, highlighting the collaboration between U.S. law enforcement and international partners.

Immediately after his arrest, authorities said, the man collapsed. He was provided first aid and was later hospitalized.

Czech courts will decide whether to extradite the man to the United States.

It was unclear what hacking attacks the man was suspected of participating in. A police spokesman declined to provide Reuters with additional information about the arrest.

In Moscow, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said the Kremlin opposed the extradition.

Konstantin Dolgov, whose group monitors legal and rights issues at the Foreign Ministry, called the plans to move the suspect to the United States an “unacceptability,” according to the Interfax news agency.

Dolgov said Russian officials were monitoring the case and ready to provide the suspect with assistance, including legal help. “We expect that his procedural rights won’t be violated,” Dolgov was quoted as saying.

Although there are no apparent links between the arrest and hacking of U.S. political groups, the case is certain to draw closer attention to data infiltration tactics with suspected Russian fingerprints.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Obama administration officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election, a claim that had been reported widely for months but not formally alleged by the federal government.

The alleged hacks have included digital intrusions into systems at the Democratic National Committee this summer that was followed by a major leak of emails that, in turn, led to the resignation of the committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.). Russia has also been blamed for hacking and, later, leaking emails of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

 

In the October statement officially accusing Russia of the hacking attacks, the federal government said an online persona calling himself Guccifer 2.0 had claimed responsibility for the intrusions and said that it thinks only top Russian officials could have authorized them.

“This is some sort of nonsense,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Russian President
Vladimir Putin, told The Washington Post earlier this month. “Every day, Putin’s site gets attacked by tens of thousands of hackers. Many of these attacks can be traced to U.S. territory. It’s not as though we accuse the White House or Langley of doing it each time it happens.”

Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.