UK’s Raab says unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target COVID-19 work

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street ahead of a cabinet meeting in London, Britain, July 14, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 July 2020

UK’s Raab says unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target COVID-19 work

  • Raab’s comments come after Britain also accused Russia on Thursday of trying to interfere in its 2019 general election

LONDON: British foreign minister Dominic Raab on Thursday added to condemnation from the US and Canada and said it was completely unacceptable for Russian intelligence services to target research on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intelligence agencies in the three nations alleged that the hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence services, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in coronavirus 9 vaccine development.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Raab said, following a joint statement by British Canadian and US cybersecurity services.

“While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behavior, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.

“The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyberattacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, rejected the British accusations, saying: “We don’t have information about who may have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centers in Britain."

“We may say one thing: Russia has nothing to do with those attempts,” Peskov said, according to the state news agency Tass.

Raab’s comments come after Britain also accused Russia on Thursday of trying to interfere in its 2019 general election by illicitly acquiring sensitive documents relating to a planned free trade agreement with Washington and leaking them online.

In response, a senior Russian lawmaker said the allegations were “anti-Russian nonsense” and undermined UK-Russia relations.

 

 


North Korea brings aid supplies to border town under coronavirus lockdown

Updated 43 sec ago

North Korea brings aid supplies to border town under coronavirus lockdown

  • Lockdown imposed on Kaesong last month after a person, who defected to South Korea in 2017, returned showing coronavirus symptoms

SEOUL: North Korea’s ruling party has delivered special aid packages of food and medical equipment to residents of Kaesong, near the border with the South, after imposing a lockdown there due to COVID-19 concerns, state media said on Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and imposed a lockdown on the small border town last month after a person, who defected to South Korea in 2017, returned to Kaesong across the highly fortified border showing coronavirus symptoms.
Pyongyang has not confirmed any coronavirus infections but has been taking strict quarantine measures and screening the town, while providing food, test kits and other medical equipment, according to state media.
State television on Sunday showed a train arriving at the Kaesong station and trucks delivering supplies to residents.
Separately, hundreds of people wearing masks and sitting apart from one another gathered at a party auditorium to thank authorities for the aid, with some breaking down in tears, footage showed.
The official KCNA news agency said the shipments arrived on Friday to help the residents cope with the lockdown, which “may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster.”
North Korea has not formally confirmed that the man in question tested positive for the virus. Seoul officials have said the 24-year-old returned to the North after facing a sexual assault investigation in the South.
South Korean health officials said there was no sign he was infected before he crossed the border, and at least two people who were in close contact with him have tested negative.
South Korea has confirmed 14,598 coronavirus cases and 305 COVID-19 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control said on Sunday.