17:16 GMT23 November 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, has rejected charges by the Trump administration against Russia's FGUP Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (CNIIHM), after the institute came under US sanctions.

    On Friday, the adminsitration of US President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on the Russian research institute as, from Washington's point of view, it is linked to Triton malware. 

    "We completely reject the charges brought by the administration against the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics.” We emphasize once again the illegitimacy of any one-sided restrictions. Russia, unlike the United States, does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain. Malicious activity in the information space is contrary to the principles of our foreign policy, national interests and understanding of interstate relations," Antonov stated late Friday, quoted by the embassy's Facebook page.

    The Russian ambassador called on the US to "abandon the vicious practice of unfounded accusations", pointing out that Russia "proceeds from the fact that the interests of our countries are in line with a professional dialogue on international information security, which President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin proposed to restore."

    The sanctions, announced earlier in the day by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, were authorized under the Republican-sponsored Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which Trump signed in August, 2017.

    In the Friday statement, the US Treasury Department accused Russian government research institutions of being connected to the Triton malware, which was reportedly designed to breach industrial safety systems. and which, according to the US Treasury, has been used against US partners in the Middle East.

    In 2018, the US-based FireEye cyber security company claimed that CNIIHM could be involved in cyberattacks with the use of Triton malware, which was allegedly used, in particular, against a Saudi Arabian petrochemical plant's database.

    Russia has been repeatedly accused of interference with American internal affairs, most often of influencing US elections. Moscow has consistently denied the allegations, pointing out that Russia adheres to the international legal principle of non-interference.

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