Formally, the conflict was triggered by a story that appeared on Qatar’s news agency website on May 23. The story attributed false remarks to the Qatari emir, in which he made friendly comments about Iran and expressed support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Later, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that the website was hacked and the remarks were falsely attributed to the nation’s leader, but no suggestion has been made as to who could have behind the hack.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to the allegations, calling them another "fake news story" published with reference to "unnamed sources in an unnamed department of some unknown intelligence service."
"I’m convinced that the allegations about the 'Russian hacker attack' on the Qatari news agency were purely a provocation. It was aimed at kicking Russia out of the Middle East settlement process. The incident should be regarded only as a smear campaign," Igor Pshenichnikov, a senior analyst at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, told Sputnik.
According to him, this provocation is part of an "anti-Russian disinformation campaign" run by the United States.
"We’ve heard the same about Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential election. Recently, Russia was also accused of meddling in Montenegro’s domestic affairs. What is more, there were allegations of Russia’s attempt to influence the parliamentary election in Germany," Pshenichnikov noted.