Britain accuses Russian intelligence services of being behind attacks by hackers to seize research on a vaccine against Covid-19. London also believes it is “almost certain” that “Russian actors” tried to disrupt the election in December 2019. Fees denied by the Kremlin.
London accused Moscow on Thursday of stealing research into a Covid-19 vaccine. According to the British cyber security authority, a group of Russian hackers have attacked British, Canadian and American organizations for stealing their research on the development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV2.
“The threatening group known as APT29” or “Dukes” or “Cozy Bear”, “operates almost certainly within the framework of the Russian intelligence services,” the National Cyber Security Center said in a statement (NCSC), adding that his US and Canadian equivalents had reached the same conclusion.
Given that “it is completely unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target those working to fight the coronavirus pandemic”, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned that sooner or later those carrying out such attacks must be “held accountable”.
“While some are carelessly pursuing their selfish interests, Britain and its allies continue their hard work to find a vaccine and protect global health,” he said in a statement.
Involvement in elections?
This accusation comes in a dark sky between London and Moscow, where the shadow of Russian involvement in the British legislative campaigns in December last year, which saw triumph from Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the 2016 referendum that resulted in Brexit, is already hanging.
The British government considers it “almost certain” that “Russian actors” tried to disrupt the legislative election on December 12 last year by disseminating documents under the campaign documents about a possible London-Washington trade agreement after Brexit. An investigation was then launched to try to identify the source of the leak of these documents, which had been published on the social network Reddit.
“Based on a comprehensive analysis, the government has concluded that it is almost certain that Russian actors tried to interfere in the 2019 parliamentary elections by intensifying the online dissemination of illegally obtained government documents.” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a written statement to Parliament.
Labor opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had to leave Labor after his shortage, tagged 450 pages of documents during the campaign that he said the government wanted to “sell” British health care to the United States (NHS), one of the key issues in the survey. The estimate that the leak “was part of a campaign identified coming from Russia”, the social network Reddit had closed 61 suspicious accounts. Jeremy Corbyn, for his part, had termed “conspiracy theory” the allegations about the Russian origin of the leak of these documents.
The UK is also waiting in the coming days for the publication of a sensitive report on other possible Russian interventions, in particular the campaign for the 2016 referendum that led to Brexit.
In response, the Kremlin on Thursday denied any involvement in the 2019 British election or in an attempt to steal ongoing research into a vaccine against the new coronavirus. “We reject these allegations as well as the new baseless allegations of interference in the 2019 election,” said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian presidency, quoted by the state news agency Tass.
Relations between London and Moscow are at their lowest since the poisoning on British soil by former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, in the city of Salisbury (southwest).