Moscow, London- Relations between London and Moscow have deteriorated after Russia’s rising role in hot spots like Ukraine and Syria. but the tension began with the case of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer who was killed in London in 2006.
According to Andrew Parker, head of Britain’s internal intelligence agency MI5, Russia had been a covert threat for decades, but what differs now from the Cold War era is that more sophisticated tools are at its disposal to pursue its anti-Western agenda.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Parker said that Russia “is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways, involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today.”
However, the Kremlin has denounced these allegations and urged Russia’s critics to prove their accusations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Parker’s words “do not correspond to reality.”
“Until someone produces proof, Russia will consider those statements unfounded and groundless,” he added.
Moscow was hoping to improve relations with London after the formation of the new government. However, recently, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has heavily criticized Russia, accusing it of targeting a relief convoy to Aleppo and calling for protest before the Russian embassy in the British capital to object the Russian policies.
Russian-British relations have also been tense because Prime Minister Theresa May has launched many negative statements against Moscow.
May has recently called on EU leaders to announce a unified and decisive position on what she considered “Russian aggression.”
Parker’s statements came in conjunction with the UK government’s announcement of plans to invest GBP 1.9 billion to enhance its national cyber-security strategy, which will provide the required funding to protect companies and individuals against cyberattacks.
UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond said that the new strategy will allow taking even greater steps to defend the country in cyberspace and to strike back when attacked.
The new strategy’s announcement has come days after Russia decided to sail a fleet of warships through the English Channel, a move that was heavily criticized by the UK and the European Union.
The United States has also accused Russia of meddling in its presidential elections by hacking a number of official websites despite Kremlin’s denial.