On Friday, the Financial Times reported, citing non-designated UK officials, that the GRU officers allegedly hacked the computer network of the UK-based TV station in 2015. The news outlet has not provided any evidence, proving the claims. The newspaper has not specified why Russia would "attack" the broadcaster either. In addition, all the sources of information mentioned in the article were anonymous.
"What is interesting about the article is that it claims that hackers, supposedly, had complete control over the TV channel's infrastructure during the intrusion. Then [the article] claims that the [UK] Home Office staff called [the broadcaster] and informed it of the cyberattack and says that 'we [the TV station's staff] had not noticed any irregularities in the work of the channel until this call.' The information in this article does not withstand the slightest criticism, it seems it was written in a hurry, and the logical pattern was disrupted. [The article's] main goal is clear — to bring another accusation against Russia," a representative of the embassy told reporters.
On Thursday, the UK Foreign Office said it assessed "with high confidence" that GRU was "almost certainly" responsible for a series of cyberattacks on political institutions, media outlets and infrastructure across the globe. The Foreign Office mentioned a UK-based TV station among the targets of the attacks.
Later on Thursday, the Dutch Defense Ministry claimed that four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports had been expelled from the Netherlands in April on suspicion of an attempted cyberattack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the claims on Thursday and stressed that the "spymania campaign" unleashed in the Netherlands was seriously hurting bilateral relations with Russia. The ministry pointed out that the Netherlands made the statement ahead of the OPCW opening session, which could set up the "necessary' political background" to push through some illegal initiatives that Russia opposed.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said that the United States "poisoned" Russian-US relations by its new allegations against Russian security services. The diplomat noted the danger of fueling tensions between two nuclear powers.