Russia has rejected a CNN report that claims Russian hackers were behind a false news story on Qatar’s state news agency that led Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut ties with the kingdom.
Andrei Krutskikh, a Kremlin advisor on cybersecurity, said on Wednesday, "We're getting tired of reacting to unsubstantiated banalities."
"Whatever happens it is hackers. It's a stale claim and as ever there is zero evidence, and conclusions are drawn before the incident is even investigated," he added.
CNN reported Wednesday that intelligence gathered by the FBI indicates that Russian hackers were behind the cyber attack on the Qatar News Agency (QNA) that was first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago.
The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, according to the news network, citing US and Qatari officials.
The item published late last month included comments attributed to Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, where he described Iran as a force for stability and accused the Saudis of promoting extremism.
Afterwards, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blocked access to Qatari media, including Al Jazeera, and Egypt accused the international news channel of "inciting terrorism" and "fabricating news."
Later, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, the Maldives, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, and Yemen’s former government broke off relations with Qatar and blocked connecting routes with the country. Riyadh and its allies accused Doha of backing “terrorist” organizations, and intervening in the affairs of other Arab states.
US intelligence agencies have previously accused Russia of similar cyber-hacking to influence the 2016 US presidential election. Moscow categorically denied the allegations.