Boris Johnson blasts Moscow 'dirty tricks' as Russia accuses Britain of 'witch hunt'

Posted On: 
11th January 2017

It is “pretty clear” the Kremlin instigated the hacking of US Democratic National Committee emails before the US presidential election, Boris Johnson has said. 

Boris Johnson addressed the Commons after returning from the US.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Foreign Secretary met members of incoming US president Donald Trump's team this week, as the row over whether Russia helped the tycoon win the election escalated.

A report released by US intelligence agencies claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hackers to damage Hillary Clinton.

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Mr Johnson said he had spoken to high profile congressional leaders as well as President-elect Trump's advisers about the issue of Russian intervention against Mr Trump's Democratic rival.

Addressing the Commons yesterday, the Foreign Secretary said: "The point that we have made to the incoming administration, and indeed on Capitol Hill, is just this: as I said earlier, we do think that the Russian state - the Putin Kremlin - is up to all sorts of very dirty tricks, such as cyber-warfare.

"But it would be folly for us further to demonise Russia or to push Russia into a corner, so a twin-track strategy of engagement and vigilance is what is required."

He added that it would be "folly" for the UK and the US to "demonise" Russia.

Yet Russia's embassy in London accused the UK government of launching an "anti-Russian witch hunt".

It said “western elites will go to great lengths to save their own world” and that “British special services are all too willing to oblige”.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t expect HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] to win this argument in an open and reasoned debate.

“We also think that it is plainly wrong for one UNSC permanent member to brief against another.”