Britain accused “Russian actors” of trying to disrupt last year’s general election by circulating leaked trade documents between London and Washington.
The government launched an investigation into the source of the leak after details of negotiations with the United States about a possible post-Brexit trade agreement were published on the Reddit social media site.
The main opposition Labor Party said the files prove that the government will “sell” the National Health Service (NHS) which is managed by the government to US companies.
Funding for the NHS is a major campaign issue before the December 12 election.
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” claimed the leak used in his campaign was carried out online by Russia, but did not say where the party got it.
But Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Thursday the government had concluded after “extensive analysis” that there were strong suspicions of Russian relations.
“On the basis of extensive analysis, the government has concluded that it is almost certain that Russian actors are trying to disrupt the 2019 general election through online amplification of government documents that were obtained illegally and leaked,” he said in a written statement to Britain. Parliament.
The accusation, although not directly directed at the Kremlin, is likely to exacerbate the already full relations between London and Moscow.
The ties became tense after Britain appointed Russia for trying to kill double agent Sergei Skripal in the city of Salisbury, southwest England in 2018.
A long-awaited report about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 Brexit vote, which will be published by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee in the coming days, could also increase diplomatic tension.
Raab said about the leak: “Government sensitive documents related to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement were obtained illegally before the 2019 general election and disseminated online through the Reddit social media platform.”
“When this does not get appeal, further efforts are made to promote material obtained illegally online ahead of the general election,” he said.
“While there is no evidence of Russia’s broad-spectrum campaign against general elections, any attempt to interfere in our democratic process is completely unacceptable.”
Raab said there was an ongoing criminal investigation, which prevented him from giving further details.
But he promised Britain would “summon and respond to defamation”, and supported the recent actions taken by Berlin against Russia’s alleged hacking of the German parliament in 2015.
He also supported Germany’s recent steps to impose sanctions on Russia for Russian military spy advice targeting prominent politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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