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Russia trying to exploit coronavirus crisis, warns Raab

The Foreign Secretary said the pandemic had created a ‘perceived opportunity’ for state and non-state actors through cyber and other means.

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Russia is among countries trying to exploit the challenges created by the coronavirus crisis, the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Dominic Raab said Moscow had not made a “material difference” to the UK’s health response to the pandemic, but had attempted to use it to its advantage.

He told Sky News: “I don’t think they’ve made a material difference to our response in health terms but certainly Russia and other countries – and indeed non-state actors – see the challenges that Covid has created and are trying to exploit it.

“And we’re making sure we have got the resilience, the defence and the capabilities to prevent them from doing so.”

Mr Raab said coronavirus had created a “perceived opportunity” for state and non-state actors through cyber and other means.

Referencing China’s move to gain more control over former British colony Hong Kong, he said: “I think some people are arguing that it is difficult to glean, whether it is true or not, that this is something the national security legislation that is being put forward is being done at a time when the world’s attention has been on coronavirus.”

His comments come after he urged China to reconsider the national security law, as the G7 bloc of major nations stepped up pressure on Beijing.

PA