MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Britain’s attempts to use aggressive cyber potential against Russia in connection with the Skripal case will not remain without response, Russia’s special presidential representative for international cooperation in the field of information security, Andrei Krutskikh, said in an expert discussion entitled Information War in Cyberspace: A Fake or Reality? on the platform of the Valdai discussion club.
"In connection with the Skripal affair some hardline members of parliament from the ruling factions have been making statements Russia would use its cyber potential in an offensive manner for strikes against Russia. How should we interpret these statements? As a declaration of war against us? Or an attempt make a mountain out of a molehill to impress the domestic audience?" Krutskikh said.
"Does Britain really think that Russia will stay idle after being punched? That it can play nasty cyber tricks on Russia with no risk of getting retaliation?" he asked.
The Russian embassy in March asked the Foreign Office for formal explanations about threats from London against Moscow voiced in the British parliament. No reply from Britain has followed.
The Times earlier quoted official government sources as saying Britain was considering the possibility of a cyberattack against Russia in response for the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
The newspaper said the British Defense Ministry and the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ) were jointly working on offensive cyber software. The Times said it might be used for attacks against the Kremlin’s computer network or websites that in Britain’s view may be spreading fake news.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, 66, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain and his daughter Yulia, 33, were affected by a nerve gas in Salisbury, if the British version of the incident is to be believed. London later alleged that the chemical agent had been developed in Russia and for this reason blamed Moscow for complicity in the poisoning. Russia strongly dismissed these speculations, saying that there had been no programs for research into such agents either in the Soviet Union or in Russia. Without presenting any proof London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and took other anti-Russian measures. Moscow responded by expelling as many British embassy staffers and issuing orders to close down the British consulate in St. Petersburg and terminating the activity of the British Council in Russia.
Furthermore, the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded the overall staff of the British embassy in Moscow and the consulates’ general in Russia be equalized to the number of Russian diplomats and technical personnel working on long-term assignments in the United Kingdom.