May vows to pro­tect Europe from Rus­sian threats

PM ac­cuses Rus­sia of mil­i­tary ag­gres­sion and med­dling in elec­tions

The Gulf Today - - World -

LON­DON: Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said on Mon­day the gov­ern­ment would main­tain its com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing Europe af­ter Brexit as she ac­cused Rus­sia of mil­i­tary ag­gres­sion and med­dling in elec­tions.

The prime min­is­ter said Bri­tain would con­tinue to pro­vide as­sis­tance to states that were vic­tims of ag­gres­sion.

“The UK will re­main un­con­di­tion­ally com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing Europe’s se­cu­rity,” May said in a speech at the Guild­hall in Lon­don’s inan­cial district.

“The com­pre­hen­sive new eco­nomic part­ner­ship we seek will un­der­pin our shared com­mit­ment to open economies and free so­ci­eties in the face of those who seek to un­der­mine them.”

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is play­ing one its strong­est cards in the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions by of­fer­ing to put its de­fence and se­cu­rity as­sets at the dis­posal of the EU in the hope of win­ning con­ces­sions on fu­ture trad­ing and eco­nomic re­la­tions.

The coun­try has big­ger de­fence bud­gets than any other EU mem­ber state and its diplo­matic and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices are among the most ex­ten­sive in Europe.

Its gov­ern­ment also ar­gues it is one of the lead­ing EU con­trib­u­tors to a range of se­cu­rity mea­sures, such as data and ev­i­dence shar­ing, ex­tra­di­tion mea­sures and to the EU’S po­lice agency Europol.

May on Mon­day ac­cused Rus­sia of fo­ment­ing vi­o­lence in eastern Ukraine, of re­peat­edly vi­o­lat­ing the na­tional air- space of sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries, and mount­ing a cam­paign of cy­ber at­tacks.

She also ac­cused Rus­sia of med­dling in elec­tions and hack­ing the Dan­ish de­fence min­istry, the Ger­man par­lia­ment and its state-me­dia of plant­ing fake sto­ries and photo-shopped im­ages in an at­tempt to un­der­mine western in­sti­tu­tions.

May said the gov­ern­ment is work­ing to re­form Nato so it is bet­ter placed to counter Rus­sian hos­til­ity and has stepped up mil­i­tary and eco­nomic sup­port to Ukraine.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Peo­ple on the Long Walk at Wind­sor Cas­tle as tem­per­a­tures dropped in the early hours of Mon­day.

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