Russia’s ambassador to London has denied accusations by Britain and its allies of helping hackers target labs conducting coronavirus vaccine research, in a UK television interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

Andrei Kelin said Thursday’s allegations by Britain, the US and Canada that a hacking group called APT29 was behind the online attacks, and was “almost certainly” linked to Russian intelligence, made “no sense”.

“I don’t believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, adding he had learned about the hacking collective’s existence from British media reports.

“In this world, to attribute any kind of computer hackers to any country, it is impossible.”

Britain, the US and Canada claimed on Thursday that a group of hackers, known as the Dukes or Cozy Bear – with links to Russian intelligence, had targeted research bodies around the world – including in the UK.

At the same time, the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said “Russian actors” had tried to interfere in last year’s general election by “amplifying” stolen government papers online.

The documents – relating to US-UK trade talks – were picked up by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said they were evidence the Conservatives were preparing to open up the NHS to US pharmaceutical companies.

Kelin, who was appointed Moscow’s top envoy in Britain last November, also rejected that claim, saying his country had no interest in interfering in British domestic politics.

“I do not see any point in using this subject as a matter of interference,” Kelin said.

“We do not interfere at all. We do not see any point in interference because for us, whether it will be (the) Conservative party or Labour party at the head of this country, we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kelin claimed Russian officials had discovered “several cyber attacks” originating from UK territory during the country’s recent constitutional referendum which paved the way for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power to 2036.

Kelin said Russia was not “accusing the United Kingdom as a state” of being involved in the attacks, but did not give further details as to their nature.

Russia and Britain have been at loggerheads since Moscow was accused of trying to kill double agent Sergei Skripal with a powerful military-grade nerve agent in 2018.

The attack in Salisbury, south-west England, came 12 years after the radiation poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London.

Russia has denied involvement and Kelin said the country was ready to move on from the controversies.

“We are prepared to turn the page and we are prepared to do business with Britain,” he added.



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