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Trump administration harms relations with Russia accusing it of cyberattacks — diplomat

Moscow reaffirms its willingness to conduct a pragmatic and constructive dialogue on international information security issues with any US president, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Russian Foreign Ministry Press Office/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Russian Foreign Ministry Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The Trump administration only harms bilateral relations with Russia by making statements about Moscow’s involvement in cyberattacks, preventing new White House occupant Joe Biden from establishing cooperation with Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday.

"One cannot rule out, however, that the real purpose of new accusations against us is an attempt to prevent [US] President-elect Joe Biden from establishing cooperation with Moscow, including on international information security issues. We are convinced that this scenario meets neither Russian nor American national interests," she stressed.

As an example, Zakharova cited a statement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who earlier accused Russia of involvement in a cyberattack on government agencies in Washington. "Michael Pompeo’s speech did not add anything new to the traditional array of accusations of cyberattacks. Unfounded accusations against Russia are heard from across the pond all the time. In that speech, unsubstantiated accusations of Russia's irresponsible behavior in cyberspace could be heard once again," the diplomat noted.

Moscow reaffirms its willingness to conduct a pragmatic and constructive dialogue on international information security issues with any US president, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed. "For our part, we are ready for a constructive, professional and pragmatic dialogue on international informational security issues with any leader of the United States of America," she noted.

The Office of the US Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a joint statement last week that they had become aware of an attack on the federal government’s computer networks. On December 18, Pompeo claimed that Russia was involved in it. Meanwhile, Trump said a day later that the media had exaggerated the scale of the incident. He disagreed with suggestions that a group of hackers working for Moscow could be behind the cyberattack but admitted that China could be complicit.

Destructive nature of sanctions

Maria Zakharova has called on the United States to realize the destructive consequences that the sanctions against Russian companies entail for dialogue between the two countries.

"The latest innovations by the US Department of Commerce to modernize its export regime by incorporating the notion of 'military end user' and introducing more than 40 Russians on this list cause confusion and indignation," she told the briefing. "We once again urge the US to listen to the voice of reason, at least that of ours, and finally start to adequately assess the consequences of its destructive actions both for the general political atmosphere and the relations between our countries and their trade and economic constituent."

The diplomat noted that the sanctions fit perfectly well in the general US policy of containing Russia. At the same time, Zakharova continued, a question arises why only civil companies have ended up on the list since these businesses have "a long history of mutually beneficial cooperation with US partners."

"The outgoing administration is trying hard to complicate the Russian-American cooperation as much as possible and disrupt healthy competition on global markets," she continued. However, Zakharova pointed out that such US actions "force" Russia "to achieve full technological independence from the West."

The US Department of Commerce on Monday imposed sanctions on a number of Russian and Chinese enterprises, which, according to Washington, cooperate with the armed forces of the two states. The organizations in question are prohibited from acquiring a number of US goods and technologies.

A total of 58 Chinese organizations and 45 Russian ones have been blacklisted, including the Admiralty Shipyard (part of USC), the United Aircraft Corporation, the Rossiya Special Flight Squadron (the official air carrier of the Russian president and prime minister). The list also includes the Rostec state corporation, the MiG Aircraft Corporation, Russian Helicopters, the Sukhoi and Tupolev aircraft makers, the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash), the Progress Space Rocket Center, the Rosoboronexport agency, the United Engine Corporation, the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation, the UEC-Saturn aircraft engine manufacturer and certain companies of the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.