Russian Official: Moscow Ready to Bury Cyber Feud if Washington Can Do the Same

Moscow will not make any unilateral statements regarding cybersecurity, but it will also not agree to take the blame for allegations that are being pinned on Russia, Putin’s special representative for international cooperation in the field of information security Andrei Krutskikh said in an interview with Kommersant daily.

“We are ready for talks any time, in the event that they are serious and substantial, and we will wait if needed,” he vowed. “If any agreements are reached, (they should be) based on mutual guarantees, and even better – on broad guarantees and regulations like the ones proposed by Russia for many years. We will not abide by someone’s ultimatums, demands or provide unilateral guarantees,” he said.

Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry once again complained that, despite accusations against Russian authorities that allegedly interfered in the U.S. elections in 2016, Washington refuses to engage in direct dialogue with Russia on cyber questions.

According to Krutskih, great powers should not use force to compete in cyberspace, but rather “boost confidence, transparency and cooperation, involving as many as possible countries.” He thinks Moscow and Washington could lead those processes.

“A situation when two cowboys are aiming ‘cyber’ pistols at each other is abnormal. We are ready to put down our ‘six-shooters’ if they are as well. However so far, tensions are only rising, whereas it is necessary to reach agreements and share this experience to others,” he said.

Washington and London have accused Russia of orchestrating a large-scale campaign of cyberattacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, as well as meddling on the 2016 presidential election. Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published in March.