Moscow has indicated that it is willing to engage with the United Kingdom in a fruitful cyber security dialogue despite a series of “reckless, provocative and unfounded” accusations being levelled by the UK on the former.
On Monday, responding to the publication of the National Security Strategy Report on Cyber Security by a Joint Committee of the British Parliament that named Russia among a number of countries that posed cyber threats to the UK, a press officer at the Russian Embassy in London said that Russia is “open for expert dialogue based on mutual respect on this issue”.
In September, Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, had stated that Britain was ready to use its offensive cyber capabilities to target GRU, the Russian intelligence agency said to be behind the Novichok poisoning incident.
“The threat from Russia is real and it’s active and it will be countered by a strong international partnership of allies able to deploy the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus and ready to reject the Kremlin’s brazen determination to undermine the international rules-based order,” he said at the Billington Cybersecurity Conference in Washington.
He added that the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and the subsequent tragic poisonings in Amesbury demonstrated just how reckless the Russian state was prepared to be, but Britain would not tolerate such barbaric acts against the country.
UK’s cyber-attack accusations “reckless, provocative and unfounded”
“Recently, we have seen a whole series of insinuations to the effect that the United Kingdom has been facing cyberthreats from a number of states, including Russia. Such statements are reckless, provocative and unfounded. Unfortunately, this report is no exception, although the document, to be fair, states that “there is much, much more to the cyber security threat to the UK than just Russia”, said the press officer at the Russian Embassy.
“In this respect, it is worth recalling again that Russia has made multiple proposals to the United Kingdom on different levels to establish cooperation on cyberthreats. In December 2017 during the then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed to launch expert consultations on this matter in order to address UK’s concerns, if any. By the way, some Western countries have replied positively to a similar proposal. We are open for expert dialogue based on mutual respect on this issue, so important for the international community.
“Unfortunately, what we see from the British side is only increased anti-Russian rhetoric. Moreover, while some time ago the idea of cyber attacks against Russia was suggested by journalists, now it is being actively exploited by high-ranking officials, including MPs,” he added.
Russia won’t extradite hackers
Earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin had also expressly ‘ruled out’ the extradition of several Russian nationals who were accused of interfering in the last U.S. presidential elections and orchestrating disinformation campaigns.
In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin said that he had no knowledge of their actions and even if they did something, they did so without the support of the Russian state.
“I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities. What they did specifically, I have no idea. I do not know what they were guided by. Even if they did do something, it’s – simply that our – maybe it’s just our American colleagues,” he said.