‘We know what you’re do­ing’

Geelong Advertiser - - WORLD - AFP

RUS­SIA will not suc­ceed in ef­forts to sow dis­cord in the West, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said yes­ter­day.

In an an­nual ad­dress to the Lord Mayor’s Ban­quet, she cat­a­logued var­i­ous Rus­sian ac­tions – from the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea to “seek­ing to weaponise in­for­ma­tion” – which “threaten the in­ter­na­tional or­der.”

Moscow is “de­ploy­ing its state-run me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions to plant fake sto­ries and photo-shopped im­ages in an at­tempt to sow dis­cord in the West and un­der­mine our in­sti­tu­tions,” she said.

“So I have a very sim­ple mes­sage for Rus­sia. We know what you are do­ing. And you will not suc­ceed.”

Mrs May said Rus­sia had un­der­es­ti­mated the re­silience of West­ern de­moc- racy, “and the en­dur­ing at­trac­tion of free and open so­ci­eties, and the com­mit­ment of West­ern na­tions to the al­liances that bind us.”

Her blunt lan­guage con­trasts with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has re­peat­edly adopted a friendly tone to­wards Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and de­nied he di­rected med­dling in Amer­i­can elec­tions.

Nonethe­less Mrs May – who heads a frag­ile, scan­dal-plagued govern­ment nav­i­gat­ing a frac­tious exit from the Euro­pean Union – sought to reaf­firm transat­lantic ties and Bri­tain’s post-Brexit place in the world.

She in­sisted the coun­try would con­tinue to counter Rus­sian ac­tiv­i­ties through its al­liances, while also driv­ing re­form of NATO – a long­stand­ing Trump de- mand. She also vowed to strengthen cy­ber se­cu­rity and tighten fi­nan­cial rules to stop the “prof­its of cor­rup­tion” ar­riv­ing in Bri­tain from Rus­sia.

But Mrs May sounded a con­cil­ia­tory note, call­ing for on­go­ing en­gage­ment with Moscow and re­it­er­at­ing for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son will visit the coun­try in the com­ing months.

“We do not want to re­turn to the Cold War, or to be in a state of per­pet­ual con­fronta­tion,” she said, adding there was “an­other way”.

“Many of us here looked at a post-Soviet Rus­sia with hope,” Mrs May said.

“Be­cause we know that a strong and pros­per­ous Rus­sia which plays by the rules would be in the in­ter­ests of the United King­dom, Europe and the world.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.