Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov comments on EU leaders accusing Russia of cyber attacks

Submitted on Fri, 10/05/2018 - 16:40

Answer by Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the EU, to question from the Russian media regarding the reasons prompting European Union leaders to issue a joint statement on so-called “Russian cyber attacks”

Question: We noted that since April a number of countries had kept to themselves information on Russia being allegedly responsible for cyber attacks against the OPCW, and yesterday as if right on cue they expressed all of a sudden their uniform considerations on the story. So, what really happened?

Answer: One may say that nothing surprising has happened, and one may say that something logical has occurred, taking into account the precise timing. This story is being blown up in a number of Western capitals, and not only in The Hague where it has all allegedly happened but also in other cities, including even Washington which is located quite far away. What has incited them to wait for half a year to launch this coordinated campaign and to blurt it out from different points right now? I would highlight two elements.

First, the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers currently being held in Brussels. Reinforcing the Alliance capacities to counter cyber threats, as they formulate it, was one of the issues on the agenda. To put it simply, it is about taking a decision in principle on establishing some kind of cyber forces. Second, on 9 October the 89th Session of the OPCW Executive Council will open in The Hague. The agenda includes an item Western countries managed to thrust forward via thorough work with a range of countries, including those that are quite detached from The Hague and OPCW issues. The item concerns assigning OPCW, a purely technical organisation, its secretariat being a technical body, with an attributive mechanism, i.e. a mechanism of defining those responsible for incidents or, God forbid, cases of use of chemical weapons. Next week will see practical discussions on a draft decision to allocate relevant financing for this end. All these components coinciding in time probably resulted in a cumulative effect of an anti-Russian protuberance of a kind.

It is difficult to discern elementary logic behind this hype. First, why should special services or anybody else in Russia try to infiltrate an organisation it is a full member of? As far as I see it, there can be no miraculous secrets inside by definition. Second, there is a lot of other nonsense. With all due respect to the organisations that are being mentioned, it is highly unlikely they would send their employees on a foreign mission by taxi and with taxi receipts in their hands. For an unbiased observer it all looks awkward, not to say ridiculous.