30 countries participated in the event; Russia was not invited to it

Russia was not invited to a virtual meeting with the participation of 30 countries, which is aimed at combating the growing threat of ransomware and other cybercrimes, a senior U.S. administration official said.

Cybersecurity experts from the private sector note that many ransomware gangs operate from Ukraine and Russia. Some American officials and analysts say that Russian ransomware gangs operate with the tacit approval of the Kremlin but are not directly controlled by the government.

The meeting will take place over two days and includes six sessions covering topics such as solving the problem of using virtual currency for money laundering, prosecuting ransomware, using diplomacy to combat ransomware programs, and helping other countries to increase resilience to such attacks.

In addition to the United States, India, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom will hold discussions. Canada, France, Great Britain, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Ukraine, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, and the European Union participate in the event.

“We are in active discussions with Russia, but she was not invited to this particular forum,” a senior administration official said, adding that this does not prevent Russia from participating in future events.

According to the source, the United States is directly interacting with Russia on the issue of ransomware programs within the framework of a bilateral group of experts created by President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The source added that the United States had shared information about specific criminal entities in Russia and that the country had taken the first steps to address the issues raised.

As U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan noted, speaking at the opening of the meeting on Wednesday, this event demonstrates that the governments of the participating countries are aware of the seriousness of the ransomware threat.

“We believe that international cooperation is the basis of our collective ability to combat the ecosystem of ransomware, to bring criminals and the states harboring them to justice, as well as to reduce the threat to citizens in each of our countries,” he said.

President Joe Biden has stepped up cybersecurity measures at the highest levels of the administration after a series of cyberattacks this year.

The administration hopes that a new informal group, called the Anti-Ransomware Initiative, will support diplomatic efforts, including direct negotiations with Russia and initiatives through NATO and the G7.