Dominic Raab ramps up Russia row by blasting 'reprehensible' cyber attack and vowing to 'hold them to account'

DOMINIC Raab has today ramped up the Russia row by blasting their “reprehensible” cyber attack and vowing to “hold them to account”.

The Foreign Secretary this morning tore into Moscow for the hacks against labs developing a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK.

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Appearing on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Raab accused Russia of targeting Britain and lying about it.

He said:"We've seen this as part of a wider systematic approach to cyber taken by Russia.

“At a time the world is coming together to try and tackle Covid-19 and particularly trying to come up with a global solution for a vaccine, it is outrageous and reprehensible that the Russian government is engaged in this activity and so what we’re doing with our allies is making sure people know.

"We will do this now, you will see us holding Russia to account and making sure the world knows the nature of the reprehensible behaviour they are involved in."

It comes after a joint operation with the US and Canada uncovered a "malicious campaign" to steal information uncovered by Britain's top scientists on coronavirus with targeted attacks since March.

No10 said they believe the attacks came from a group known at APT29 – part of the Russian intelligence service.

Here's what we know about the attacks:

  • A group called APT29 linked to Russian intelligence services is behind a series of coordinated attacks to try and steal UK vaccines
  • UK security services are "almost certain" the attacks were sponsored by Russia – and President Putin knew about them
  • Vaccine research programs are being given the highest level of protection to protect data on coronavirus jabs
  • The same group has been linked to attacks on US Democratic Party in the run-up to 2016 elections
  • The group are trying to exploit known vulnerabilities in well known security software such as VPN software & external mail servers

The senior Minister also dismissed claims from the Kremlin that they had nothing to do with the cyber attack.

Russia's ambassador to Britain Andrei Kelin has claimed there was "no sense" to the story.

Mr Raab responded said: "Of course he will come on and deny the attack on the research and development of a vaccine.

"Russia always does this when they’ve behaved in an egregious way, they did that with the Salisbury attack in 2018, and we are calling them out.

"I'm not surprised in the least that a Russian ambassador is wheeled out to deny it."

Yesterday security minister James Brokenshire had hinted there would be retaliation.

He said: "I think it's really important we have called this out that we've shown this has been linked to Russian intelligence agencies.

"It's completely unacceptable for Russia to act in this way."

He said the attacks were carried out "with the intent of extracting intellectual property and information".

The security minister said: "This is incredibly serious.

"It's appalling any government should act in this way and that's why we have called this out."

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the attacks.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman said: "Russia has nothing at all to do with these attempts."

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