Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.

Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.

We would like to emphasize that a refusal of the British authorities from establishing expert dialogue and providing Russia and the international and British public with any evidence would testify to the fact that the UK has simply no evidence to present. References to national security and public order as a basis for refraining from sharing information would be utterly artificial and would not persuade anyone.

It is worth noting that high-ranking British officials continue to declare the need for dialogue with Russia on issues of mutual interest. One would think that accusations of cyber attacks and the alleged use of chemical weapons in Salisbury are exactly those issues that are of extreme interest to both sides. However, the British authorities, instead of acting in a civilized and responsible manner, prefer to make groundless statements that spread fear and sow confusion among the British public.