Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt addresses UN Security Council

Foreign Secretary: Russia 'Thought They Would Get Away' With Salisbury Attack

Jeremy Hunt spoke at a cyber security summit and accused Russia of "targeting the critical national infrastructure of many countries".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt addresses UN Security Council

Jeremy Hunt explained how Britain is helping with cyber defence (Library picture: PA).

The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has praised the robust response of the UK's allies in NATO to the Salisbury Novichok attack, suggesting it would make Russia think twice in future.

"I think in the quieter moments in the Kremlin they will think they probably paid too high a price for what they decided to do in Salisbury," he told a cyber security summit.

The Novichok attack, targeting a former Russian spy and his daughter in March last year, led to the expulsion of 153 Russian diplomats by NATO allies.

Addressing ambassadors from NATO member states at a cyber security conference in London, Mr Hunt welcomed their strong reaction to the attack, which he said would have a deterrent effect.

He said: "I think Russia thought they would get away with it.

"The fact there was the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats/spies around the world will have done something to change their calculations in terms of what they choose to do in future."

The Foreign Secretary also said Russia is "targeting the critical national infrastructure of many countries" through cyber warfare.

Mr Hunt revealed Britain has helped 16 NATO countries counter Russian cyber activities, as well as a number of others outside the alliance.

The Foreign Secretary will say how NATO should be "prepared to use" its "options for responding to any attacks that fall below the threshold for Article 5".

Article 5 states an attack against one member of NATO is considered an attack against all members.

Meanwhile, the Defence Secretary addressed the need for the UK and NATO members to recognise offensive cyber as central to modern warfare.

Penny Mordaunt announced £22 million in funding to stand up new Army cyber operations centres across the UK.

NATO pledged to strengthen national cyber defence at the 2016 Warsaw Summit.