Russia categorically rejected on Friday claims about its alleged attempts to interfere in the elections of any country, including the UK.
The stance was announced by Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov who warned that there will be “negative” consequences for bilateral relations between Moscow and London.
“We consistently and categorically deny any possible involvement of Russia in interference in the elections of any country, including those of the UK. And we categorically reject any accusations regarding the 2019 elections in the UK,” the spokesman said, speaking to reporters on Friday.
Peskov warned that “of course,” London’s latest claims “will negatively affect bilateral Russian-British relations. But it should be admitted that the British side can hardly do anything that would further aggravate the current state of bilateral relations.”
On Thursday, just hours after a parliamentary intelligence committee promised that it would soon release a report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 general election, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that certain unnamed “Russian actors” ‘almost certainly’ tried to interfere in the December 2019 UK general election by leaking secret documents on a planned UK-US trade deal to Reddit.
The same day, Raab and Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) accused ‘Moscow-linked cyber actors’ of trying to steal British coronavirus vaccine research, an allegation which Russia immediately denied.
In his comments Friday, Peskov reiterated that Moscow “does not accept these accusations.”
“We don’t know who tried to hack the UK and what they were trying to hack, but Russia certainly had nothing to do with it. We ourselves constantly encounter similar attempts to carry out cybercrimes in relation to the computer databases of our institutions. Our institutions consistently defeat these attacks. This is a common problem, but we categorically disagree with the baseless allegations made against us,” the spokesman said.
Asked specifically about whether the ‘Cozy Bear’ hacker group is connected with Russian intelligence, as claimed by the NCSC, Peskov said “we do not know what this group is and to whom it belongs.”
On Thursday, the Russian Embassy in London dismissed the NCSC’s coronavirus vaccine hacking claims as “propaganda,” and said that the Russian side’s previous attempts to establish contacts between UK cybersecurity officials and Russia’s FSB-affiliated National Computer Incident Coordination Centre had been rebuffed.