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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Ambassador says Russia not involved in cyberattack on British vaccine research

Russia’s ambassador to the U.K. said there is “no sense” in the claim that Russian intelligence services attempted to steal British coronavirus vaccine research.  

Speaking on the BBC's "Andrew Marr Show" on Sunday, Andrey Kelin said it was “impossible” to link hackers to any one country and that he doesn't believe the allegations. On Thursday, the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre published details of attacks that it said "almost certainly" originated from Russian intelligence services.  

Asked about Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s claim that Russian groups attempted to interfere in the U.K. elections, Kelin appealed to “British common sense.”

“Our policy is not a policy of interference,” he said. He also claimed that cyberattacks on Russia’s recent constitutional referendum had originated from the U.K. 

Speaking on "Sophy Ridge on Sunday," Raab said British authorities were “absolutely confident” that Russian intelligence agencies were behind attacks on the U.K.’s vaccine research. When asked about the Russian ambassador’s denial, Raab said: “Of course he will come on and deny the attack ... Russia always does this when it has behaved in such an egregious way.” 

Raab added that the U.K. would be holding Russia to account. 

As for the U.K.'s relationship with China, in the wake of the new Hong Kong security law and the U.K. banning Huawei's 5G gear, Raab said Britain needs to “be very careful” in its dealings with Beijing. However, he added the U.K. also has “to be able to work with China.”

China's ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, speaking to Marr, accused the U.K. of being swayed by the U.S. in how it dealt with China.

He said he did not want the same “tit for tat” that is present in relations between the U.S. and China to be mirrored between the U.K. and his country. 

I think the U.K. has its own independent foreign policy rather than to dance to the tune of Americans,” he said. 

As for possible sanctions by the U.K. on individuals in China, he said that if this happens, “China will certainly make a resolute response to it.”

On the U.K. banning Huawei from its 5G network, the ambassador said it was a “dark day” for relations between the two countries, adding that the U.K. “missed the opportunity to be a leading country.”

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