Russia says it's ready to help the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in fighting cybercrime, after the world's main anti-doping regulator called on Moscow to do all it could to prevent the hacking of athletes' medical records.
"If we're talking about a request for help, then no question, if we receive such an appeal," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on September 15, adding that Russia "consistently backs fighting cybercrime."
WADA said this week a Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear had hacked one of its databases and leaked confidential medical records of 29 athletes.
The hackers released details of medication taken by the athletes, mainly from the United States, under therapeutic-use exemptions that allow for the use of banned substances.
WADA Director-General Olivier Niggli said the leaks were "retaliation" for the agency's role in "investigations that exposed state-sponsored doping in Russia."
The probe led to a ban of the entire Russian Paralympic team and nearly 120 athletes from the country's Olympic squad from competing in Rio.
"Continued cyberattacks emanating from Russia seriously undermine the work that is being carried out to rebuild a compliant anti-doping program in Russia," Niggli also warned.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was wrong to connect the issue of cybercrime with Russia's attempts to overcome the doping scandal around its athletes.
Zakharova also called on WADA to "develop clear criteria for its work that everyone understands, based on international law, and not on some very strange statements."
She reiterated that Russia denied any role in the hacks, saying, "For Russia just like for the rest of the world, hackers and hacking are outside the law."
Meanwhile, the independent public anti-doping commission of the Russian Olympic Committee announced it had requested the assistance of Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, in an investigation into the hacking of WADA's database.
With reporting by AFP, AP, TASS, and Interfax