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Sergei Lavrov says reports linking Russian hackers to Qatar crisis are 'mass disinformation'

Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shrugged when asked by reporters if Russia was responsible behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee emails. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Web Team New Delhi Jun 07, 2017, 02.36 PM (IST)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday media reports linking Russian hackers to the rift between Qatar and Gulf Arab allies were false.

A CNN report sourcing US officials briefed on the investigation said US investigators believed Russian hackers had breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to the Qatar crisis.

Lavrov called CNN and other news outlets sources of "mass disinformation" and added: "they are just waiting for the type of story that stinks or some scandal to automatically without any evidence add this episode to the list of Russian sins, Russian hackers or someone else linked to the Russian Federation."

Lavrov was referencing the current US investigations into what multiple American intelligence agencies say was Russian interference in the 2016 US election. They have concluded that Russia has indeed interfered, and are looking into what they did and what affect it had. They are also investigating whether Trump's campaign actively worked with a foreign country to interfere in the US election.

More, it was reported that not only was there a widespread online campaign launched by Russia to negatively portray presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Trump achieve the presidency, but that the election campaign software was targeted by a Russian "spear-phish" email scam, aiming to trick recipient into clicking on malicious links to steal data. They were to more than 100 local election officials days before the US election. 

There is no evidence that this effort concerning voting machines actually manipulated votes, let alone altered the outcome of the election.

Russia on Syria

Lavrov also said US-led air strikes in Syria on Tuesday, against what it said were Iranian-backed fighters who support the Damascus regime, were a violation of Syria's sovereignty and threatened the fight against terrorism in the region by targeting the most "effective forces fighting terrorists on the ground".

A Syrian military source said the strike had caused deaths and material damage and showed the coalition was "in support of terrorism". The Syrian military command warned against the dangers of escalation, the source added.

The US military had repeatedly warned massing forces to stay away from a so-called "de-escalation" zone near a garrison used by American special forces and US-backed fighters around the southern town of At Tanf.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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