London accuses Russian pirates of seeking to seize research on a vaccine against Covid-19

The United Kingdom accused Russian intelligence services Thursday of being behind attacks by electronic pirates to seize research on a vaccine against the emerging corona virus, and the Kremlin has vehemently denied the accusation.

The accusation comes at a time when relations between London and Moscow are strained against possible Russian interference in last December's British legislative election campaigns won by the Conservatives, and in the 2016 referendum that led to Britain's exit from the European Union (Brexit).

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Rapp considered it "totally unacceptable that the Russian intelligence services target those working to combat the pandemic" Covid-19, and warned that those who carry out similar attacks "will bear responsibility for their actions" sooner or later.

He added in a statement, "While some are seeking to pursue their selfish interests, the United Kingdom and its allies are pursuing their hard work to find a vaccine and protect global health."

According to the British government agency charged with cyber security, a Russian hacker group attacked British, Canadian and American organizations to steal research related to the development of a vaccine against SARS-Cove 2.

The National Center for British Electronic Security confirmed in a statement that the pirate group "is known as IPT29" as well as "DAX" and "Cozy Bear", and that it "works almost certainly within the framework of the Russian intelligence services", adding that his American and Canadian counterparts reached The same result.

For his part, Russian presidential spokesman Dimitri Peskov said, "We do not accept these accusations nor the recent allegations of interference in the 2019 elections," according to the official TASS news agency.

Moreover, the British government confirmed Thursday that it was "almost certain" that "Russian actors" sought to block legislative elections on December 12 by publishing documents during the campaign period for a possible trade agreement between London and Washington after Brexit.

An investigation was opened to try to determine the source of the leak of these documents, which were published on the Reddit social networking site.

"On the basis of a completed analysis, the government concluded that it was almost certain that Russian actors sought to interfere in the 2019 legislative elections by intensifying the publication of government documents on the Internet illegally obtained," Dominic Rap said in a written statement to parliament.

The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbin - who had to leave the party presidency after his defeat - offered during the election campaign 450-page documents that he said demonstrated the government's desire to "sell" the British health system to Americans, and that was one of the key themes in the poll.

For its part, Reddit closed 61 accounts after it considered the leak "part of a campaign originating from Russia." Corbin considered the assertions about the leak of documents from a Russian "conspiracy theory".

The UK is awaiting the release of a sensitive report in the coming days on other possible Russian interventions, particularly related to the campaign around the 2016 referendum that led Britain to leave the European Union.

Relations between London and Moscow are at their lowest levels since the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergey Skripal in the city of Salisbury in southwestern Britain.

Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning, but the issue has led to mutual expulsions of diplomats between London and its allies and Moscow. The dialogue between the two countries was not renewed until February 2019, after an 11-month hiatus.

 

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