- Relations between London and Moscow are “close to frozen,” Russia’s ambassador in London has said.
- Ambassador Andrei Kelin denied that Russia was waging a cyber-hacking campaign against the UK after it was accused of stealing coronavirus research from labs around the world.
- “I feel that Britain exaggerates, very much, its place in Russian thinking,” Yelin said.
- A report by the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee in July claimed that Putin’s government has been engaged in “hostile foreign interference” against the UK and other powers.
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Russia’s ambassador to the UK has warned that relations between London and Moscow are “close to frozen” and that the Kremlin is “not in a hurry” to improve its ties with Britain.
Andrei Kelin, who Vladimir Putin appointed as his ambassador to the UK last year, denied recent allegations that Russia had sought to interfere in British elections, accusing Britain of exaggerating “very much.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, Kelin denied that Russia was waging a cyber-hacking campaign against the UK and had recently tried to steal coronavirus research from labs in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
The UK government last month said that Russian hackers who were “almost certainly” working for the country’s intelligence services had targeted coronavirus vaccine research facilities in the UK, US, and Canada.
Yelin also said he had “no idea” about an alleged incident in which Russian actors were said to have hacked the emails of Liam Fox, a former UK Cabinet minister, in an attempt to influence last year’s general election.
“I have no idea about the incident. These accusations are invented, if not to say false.
“These are senseless accusations which we do not understand,” the ambassador said.
“I feel that Britain exaggerates, very much, its place in Russian thinking,” Yelin said. “The scope and place of Great Britain in Russian politics is not that big. We have other problems of much larger magnitude.”
A report by the UK’s influential Intelligence and Security Committee in July claimed that Putin’s government had been engaged in “hostile foreign interference” against the UK and other powers, and said Russian influence in the UK’s networks of power was “the new normal.”
The highly-anticipated report by UK members of Parliament, based on evidence supplied by spies and intelligence experts, said “there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth.”
Kelin said the UK had thrown “a lot of mud … in our direction” and said of the UK-Russian relationship: “I wouldn’t say this is at zero, but it is close to being frozen.”
Relations between the two powers have been particularly sour since the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy and double agent for UK security services, and his daughter Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.
The UK accused Russia of ordering the attack and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the country. Russia denied the accusations.
Speaking of Britain’s response to the attack, Kelin told the Mail: “This type of attitude does not provoke much of an appetite for improving dialogue or relations in Moscow. We are patient and we are not in a hurry.”.
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