The Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom claimed allegations of cyber-attacks were made to disrupt relations with Olympic host countries ©Getty Images

The Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom has claimed allegations of cyber-attacks were made to disrupt relations with the Olympic host countries of South Korea and Japan.

Six Russian intelligence officers have been charged in the United States for an alleged global computer hacking operation that included targeting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. 

At the same time, the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCO) and National Cyber Security Centre claimed the Russian military intelligence service - known as the GRU - had conducted cyber reconnaissance against organisers, logistics services and sponsors with the aim of compromising computer systems and sabotaging the running of the Tokyo Games.

Tokyo 2020 organisers claimed there was little disruption to the Games as they had extensive cybersecurity preparations in place already, but emphasised the importance of maintaining such measures. 

However, the Russian Embassy to the UK has described the allegations as a "malicious campaign". 

"References to the Olympic Games in South Korea and Japan seek to spoil Russia’s constructive relations with those countries," it said in a statement. 

Details of the attack on Pyeongchang 2018 were revealed this week by US Assistant Attorney General John Demers, chief of the Justice Department's National Security Division, with Russian officers allegedly unleashing a corrupted software system known as "Olympic Destroyer" to disrupt the Opening Ceremony of the Games. 

Demers claimed the group also tried to disrupt the 2017 Presidential election in France and undermine Governments in Ukraine and Georgia.

Maria Zakharova, director of Russia's Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also responded to the allegations.

Tokyo 2020 organisers claimed they were not disrupted by alleged Russian cyber-attacks ©Getty Images
Tokyo 2020 organisers claimed they were not disrupted by alleged Russian cyber-attacks ©Getty Images

"As usual, no evidence has been presented, except for the hackneyed phrases about Russia’s 'implication' in a wide range of destructive activities in the information landscape," she said.

"We categorically reject this kind of speculation.  

"Russian state agencies have nothing to do with any malicious activity on the internet, as Washington is trying to portray. 

"It is obvious that there are opportunistic political considerations behind this move, the US Russophobic forces’ interest in keeping the 'Russian threat' theme afloat in the midst of the US Presidential election campaign."

The six defendants, who are alleged to work for the GRU, are charged with conspiracy to conduct computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, damaging protected computers and aggravated identity theft.

It is unlikely they will ever face the charges in court as they are all currently based in Russia. 

It is alleged the Russian hackers targeted the last edition of the Winter Olympic Games as retaliation for the International Olympic Committee decision to ban the country from competing under its own flag because of allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sports events, including the Olympics, for manipulating athletes' doping data from the original investigation into the allegations of state-sponsored doping. 

An appeal against the decision is due to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne between November 2 and 5.

If Russia loses, the country's flag will be absent for a second consecutive Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.