Russian politicians dismiss Theresa May ‘election meddling’ criticism


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Media captionRussia ‘tries to sow discord within the West’

Senior Russian politicians have dismissed accusations by Theresa May that Moscow has meddled in elections and carried out cyber-espionage.

On Monday night time, Mrs May accused Moscow of “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West”.

She stated Vladimir Putin’s authorities was attempting to “undermine free societies”.

Russian senators accused the UK’s PM of “making a fool of herself” with a “counterproductive” speech.

Mrs May’s feedback, on the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at London’s Guildhall, had been in distinction to these of US President Donald Trump, who final week stated he believed President Putin’s denial of intervening within the 2016 presidential election.

Reacting to her remarks, Alexei Pushkov, a Russian senator concerned in media coverage, stated: “The world order that suits May, with the seizure of Iraq, war in Libya, the rise of IS and terrorism in Europe, has had its day. You can’t save it by attacking Russia.”

Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the overseas affairs committee within the decrease home of Russia’s Parliament, stated: “Russia, like the UK, is by no means striving to bring back the Cold War. We are ready to develop a mutual dialogue and partnership relations.”

He added: “In this case, I completely disagree with the statement that Russia is allegedly trying to undermine the international system of rules.”

And Frants Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the defence and safety committee within the Parliament’s higher home, stated: “May has done more damage to herself than to us, making a fool of herself in the eyes of the world community and once again raising Russia’s profile.”

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is because of go to Russia subsequent month.

In what Mrs May described as a “very simple message” for President Putin, she stated he should select a really “different path” from the one which in recent times had seen Moscow annex Crimea, foment battle in Ukraine and launch cyber-attacks on governments and parliaments throughout Europe.

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Media captionWhat Boris Johnson advised MPs about Russian meddling in UK elections

Russia may very well be a invaluable badociate of the West however provided that it “plays by the rules”, she argued.

“Russia has repeatedly violated the nationwide airspace of a number of European nations and mounted a sustained marketing campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption.

“This has included meddling in elections and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defence and the Bundestag amongst many others.

“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.”

She stated that because the UK left the EU and charted a brand new course on the planet, it remained completely dedicated to Nato and securing a Brexit deal which “strengthens our liberal values”, including robust financial partnership between the UK and EU can be a bulwark towards Russian agitation in Europe.

Analysis by BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale

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There are some nations in Europe that imagine the West ought to interact extra intently with Russia.

They argue the European Union and the United States ought to higher perceive Russia’s viewpoint, its perception that it’s threatened from all sides.

And that extra ought to be completed to accommodate this sense of vulnerability, by softening Nato’s strategy and lowering sanctions.

Well, not Theresa May. In a speech within the US in February, the prime minister spoke of the necessity to “engage but beware” of Russia. She has now switched the order and the main focus may be very a lot on beware.

She believes that President Putin ought to be known as out for the risk that she believes he poses each internationally and within the UK.

The Electoral Commission is investigating claims that Russia used social media to meddle within the Brexit referendum.

So Mrs May is keen to interact with Russia – she is sending the overseas secretary to Moscow subsequent month.

But she additionally needs Russia to know that Mr Johnson will include a transparent message that its destabilising actions will not be tolerated.

Mr Johnson, who will probably be making his first journey to Russia since turning into overseas secretary in December, has stated the UK’s coverage to Russia have to be certainly one of “beware but engage” following a decade of strained relations.

He advised MPs earlier this month that he had not seen any proof of Russia attempting to intervene in British elections or the 2016 Brexit vote, during which Moscow has insisted it remained impartial.

In her speech, Mrs May stated the UK would “take the necessary action to counter Russian activity”.

“We don’t need to return to the Cold War or to be in a state of perpetual confrontation.

“As a everlasting member of the UN Security Council, Russia has the attain and the duty to play a significant position in selling worldwide 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.”

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