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Russian Envoy Denies Moscow Helped Hackers Target Virus Vaccine

Britain, the United States and Canada said Thursday that a hacking group which had targeted labs conducting coronavirus research was "almost certainly" linked to Russian intelligence. Luca Sartoni / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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 the allegations Thursday by Britain, the United States and Canada that a hacking group called APT29 was behind the online attacks, and "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."

Kelin, who was appointed Moscow's top envoy in Britain last November, also rejected a separate claim by London that "Russian actors" sought to disrupt last year's UK general election.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Thursday the perpetrators had circulated leaked trade documents between Britain and the United States, in a bid to sow greater division in the contest.

"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... we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now."

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, southwest England, came 12 years after the radiation poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London.

Again, Russia has denied involvement and Kelin said the country is 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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