Russia prefers to deal with UK accusations and security concerns through dialogue and argumentation, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Andrei Kelin told London’s LBC radio.
Earlier this week, the UK presented its long-awaited integrated review of its foreign and security policy, which described Russia as “the most acute direct threat to the UK” and China as a potential threat to the country’s economic security.
The document also unveils the UK’s plans to increase the limit of its nuclear warheads from 180 to 260.
The Russian Ambassador stressed that while the UK review mentions Russia as a threat over a dozen times, “there is no single proof or explanation to any kind of formulation.”
Kelin said that Russia has been accused of being a threat because of “cultural influence.”
“I was amazed by all of this. Besides, all other accusations, they boiled down to the story of Skripal, which is three years old and which has no substance under it,” the ambassador said, adding that “it is all false.”
He reiterated what Russia has offered on numerous occasions: to discuss all issues with the UK through dialogue.
“We prefer to deal with this type of accusations by way of dialogue. We suggested several times a dialogue on cyber issues because we have a special cyber center. Let’s sit down and talk about that but – no response. If other things are worrying Britain, let us sit down at the table and discuss what it is, what are the concerns,” Kelin said.
The UK’s review, however, has no mention of dialogue, only accusations, he stressed. The ambassador pointed out that, unlike Western states, Russia does not accuse other countries, including the UK, of cyberattacks.
“We do not speak about threats provided by the UK. We do not see any. We know that there are cyber threats to our infrastructure but we do not attribute them to any nation. We do believe that there are hackers in the world.
Even some groups of hackers in the world. But we are not trying to say that the UK is standing behind the threats. It will be — it’s nonsense,” Kelin said, adding that “in the current world, you cannot attribute a threat in the cyberspace to any specific nation.”
The ambassador emphasized that Russia does not regard the UK as a hostile state.
“We have a very long history of ties, it is about 450 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and the UK. There were different periods, sometimes we were adversaries to each other, during the Crimean War for instance and even during World War I … but sometimes we were allies also, during World War II,” Kelin said.
He added that there used to be ideological differences between Russia and the UK, particularly during the Soviet times, but that is no longer the case, which is why it is hard to understand the hostile western attitude.
“The British government has demolished most of our relationship. We are preserving it mainly in the economic and cultural fields. But as for the political field, it is nearly dead,” the ambassador said.
He added that Russia is ready to cooperate with the UK in what concerns the fight against the coronavirus.
“We haven’t seen any sign of interest here in Britain for the Russian vaccine but if there will be interest, of course, we will respond to that,” Kelin said. The Russian ambassador pointed out that more and more European states are approving the Sputnik V vaccine and Russia is ready for cooperation with all countries.