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Russia ready for dialog with US on cyber threats — foreign ministry

A Russian diplomat hopes Washington will have enough common sense not to start a global cyber conflict with Moscow

MOSCOW, October 13./TASS/. Russia is ready for a dialog with the US on cyber threats, but Washington keeps silent as of yet, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We confirm our readiness for a dialog with Washington on the issue," she said. Zakharova said Russia has not received through official channels any requests, let alone accusations as to hacker attacks on US state institutions. "One of the supposals why it is so is that evidence is needed for such requests, and the US doesn’t have it," she said.

She expressed hope that Washington will have enough common sense not to start a global cyber conflict with Moscow. "What retaliation is meant? These are cybercrimes," she said in comments on a recent statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the US "will and can respond in ways that we choose to at the time of our choice".

According to Zakharova, the stories about Russian hackers are part of the election campaign of one of the parties, used exceptionally to win votes. "Is it possible that the administration is ready to embark on the path of a global cyber conflict for the sake of the victory of a candidate and lobbying of one group in the elections?" she asked. "As it is difficult to call it otherwise than a cyber conflict," she added.

Earlier WikiLeaks released on its website hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. Hillary Clinton accused Russian hackers. US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also suggested Russia was behind the hacks. Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations.

Moscow hopes next US Administration to be wiser

 Zakharova said Moscow hopes that a future US Administration will abandon the "scorched land" policies in international relations the White House was pursuing of late.

"It is to be hoped that a future US Administration will turn out wiser than its predecessor," Zakharova said.

She voiced regret the United States kept ruining bilateral relations.

"We hear threats of a further expansion of sanctions practically every day. Nobody makes a secret of the real aim of the policy of sanctions - that of harming the Russian economy," Zakharova said. "The Pentagon keeps building its presence along Russian borders," she said. "In the United States proper Russophobic propaganda coming from the very top starts boiling over."

Zakharova dismissed as falsehoods the rumors Russian hackers were operating in the United States.

"Nobody has seen them," Zakharova said. "The ‘Russian hacker’ bogy is being used to make US people see Russia as an enemy. The White House does not stop at anything in attempts to exert pressures on Russia."

"The United States is doing that (putting pressure on Russia) with some ‘morbid pleasure’," she said. "We are perfectly aware that all these steps are a product of the electioneering campaign. One has the impression the US Administration is using "scorched land" tactics, which is fraught with risks for international stability."