UK Politics

Johnson: We told Trump team about Russia 'tricks'

Boris Johnson

The UK has told Donald Trump's team that Russia is up to "all sort of very dirty tricks" including "cyber-warfare", Boris Johnson says.

The foreign secretary told MPs it was "pretty clear" that Russia had been behind the hacking of US Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the presidential election.

He also said it would be "folly" for the UK and the US to "demonise" Russia.

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

'Work together'

Mr Johnson was speaking in the House of Commons after returning from the United States, where he visited congressional leaders as well as President-elect Trump's advisers.

His visit came amid a row over a report by US intelligence agencies, claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hackers to damage Mr Trump's Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton, and influence the US election.

Responding to a Commons question, Mr Johnson said it was "pretty clear" the hacking had come from the Russians.

He added: "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."

In an answer to another question, Mr Johnson said there was "no doubt" Russia was "up to no good" but that there were also "areas where we can work together".

The foreign secretary has previously called for demonstrations outside Russia's embassy in London over its actions in Syria.

His latest remarks came as the Russian embassy accused the British government of briefing against President Putin and conducting an anti-Russian witch hunt.

In a lengthy statement, the embassy accused the UK government of planning an "official anti-Russian witch hunt" and added: "HMG [Her Majesty's Government] is... widely suspected of and expected to brief the incoming US administration against Russia."

It would be "plainly wrong" for one UN Security Council member to brief against another, the statement added.