Theresa May Accuses Russia Of Launching A 'fake News' War Against The West

  • Theresa May accuses Putin's regime of seeking to meddle in Western elections.

  • Prime Minister says the West must resist Russian propaganda war.

  • She accuses Russia of using fake news websites and social media to "sow discord" in the West.

  • She calls on Putin to choose a "different path."


LONDON — Theresa May has accused Russia of running a covert propaganda war using fake news to "sow discord" in the west and "meddle in elections."

The prime minister said the West needed to tackle Putin's regime which had become the biggest threat facing "open economies and free societies" across the globe.

"[Russia] is seeking to weaponise information. 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," May said.

"So I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us."

In recent weeks Parliament's 'Fake news inquiry' has requested information from Twitter and Facebook on the thousands of apparently Russian accounts that posted during the EU referendum, only to disappear shortly afterwards.

May's government have warned that the spread of "fake news" websites could even lead to violence.

May's deputy, Damian Green said last month that the current spread of "fake news" was "feeding an atmosphere of increasing hatred" that could lead to another murder of an MP.

A spokesperson for Theresa May told Business Insider on Tuesday that the while the UK government had seen no "evidence of successful direct interference in UK democratic processes," they were taking "all the necessary steps to make sure we have the right protections in place and that our democratic processes aren't interfered with."

Russia hit back at May on Tuesday with an oblique tweet referencing her drinking. 

#UK Prime Minister @theresa_may on @Russia: “We know what you are doing”. We know what YOU are doing as well. Dear Theresa, we hope, one day you will try Crimean #Massandra red wine🍷 pic.twitter.com/XmqT9ghSef

— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) November 14, 2017

May called on other European countries to join the UK in doing "what is necessary to protect ourselves" against Russian 

She accused Russia of engaging in a growing range of hostile actions against European countries.

"I want to be clear about the scale and nature of these actions," she said.

"Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. Since then, Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas, repeatedly violated the national airspace of several European countries, and mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption. This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag, among many others."

May called on Russia to choose a different path.

"We will take the necessary actions to counter Russian activity. But this is not where we want to be – and not the relationship with Russia we want," she said.

"We do not want to return to the Cold War, or to be in a state of perpetual confrontation. So whilst we must beware, we also want to engage – which is why in the coming months the Foreign Secretary will be visiting Moscow.

"For there is another way. Many of us here looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope. 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..."

"Russia can, and I hope one day will, choose this different path. But for as long as Russia does not, we will act together to protect our interests and the international order on which they depend."

FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo Thomson Reuters

Read May's Russia attack in full 

 As I said in my speech in Florence, the UK will remain unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.

And 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.

Chief among those today, of course, is Russia.

In a recent speech President Putin said that while the interests of states do not always coincide, strategic gains cannot be made at the expense of others. When a state fails to observe universal rules of conduct and pursues its interests at any cost, it will provoke resistance and disputes will become unpredictable and dangerous.

I say to President Putin, I agree. But it is Russia’s actions which threaten the international order on which we all depend.

I want to be clear about the scale and nature of these actions.

Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. Since then, Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas, repeatedly violated the national airspace of several European countries, and mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption. This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag, among many others.

It is seeking to weaponise information. 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.

So I have a very simple message for Russia.

We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us.

The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.

That is why we are driving reform of NATO so this vital alliance is better able to deter and counter hostile Russian activity. It is why we have stepped up our military and economic support to Ukraine.

It is why we are strengthening our cyber security and looking at how we tighten our financial regimes to ensure the profits of corruption cannot flow from Russia into the UK.

So we will take the necessary actions to counter Russian activity. But this is not where we want to be – and not the relationship with Russia we want.

We do not want to return to the Cold War, or to be in a state of perpetual confrontation.

So whilst we must beware, we also want to engage – which is why in the coming months the Foreign Secretary will be visiting Moscow.

For there is another way.

Many of us here looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope.

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.

As a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, Russia has the reach and the responsibility to play a vital role in promoting international stability.

Russia can, and I hope one day will, choose this different path.

But for as long as Russia does not, we will act together to protect our interests and the international order on which they depend."

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/theresa-may-russia-putin-fake-news-war-elections-2017-11

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Theresa May accuses Russia of launching a 'fake news' war against the West