UK PM lashes out at Russia
PRIME Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of spreading fake news and interfering in European elections.
As she vowed Britain would maintain its commitment to protecting Europe after Brexit, Mrs May said President Vladimir Putin’s regime was trying to “sow discord in the West”.
Moscow was “deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions”, she said.
In a direct message to the Kremlin, she warned: “We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.”
She said Russia was waging a “campaign of cyber espionage and disruption”, including hacking the German parliament and the Danish defence ministry.
The broadside — the strongest from the UK Government in years — underlines how strained relations are between the West and Russia.
Mrs May’s tone was in sharp contrast to that of US President Donald Trump, who said at the weekend it was “in- sulting” to suggest the Kremlin had meddled in the American presidential election.
Mr Trump even suggested the two countries could work together in Syria.
Mrs May accused Russia of fomenting violence in eastern Ukraine and of repeatedly violating the national airspace of several European countries.
She said Britain would continue to provide assistance to states that were victims of aggression.
She also vowed to strengthen cyber security and tighten financial rules to stop the “profits of corruption” arriving in Britain from Russia.
Mrs May however did sound a conciliatory note, calling for ongoing engagement with Moscow.
“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,” she 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.”