Theresa May accuses Putin’s Russia of election meddling and faux information


Speaking on the Lord Mayor’s banquet in London, the British prime minister stated that Russia is searching for to ‘weaponize data.’ (The Washington Post)

LONDON — Dispensing with diplomatic niceties, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday evening charged Vladimir Putin’s Russia with making an attempt to “undermine free societies” and “sow discord” in Britain and the West by “weaponizing information” and “deploying its state-run media organizations to plant fake stories.”

“So I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed,” May stated. “The U.K. will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.”

May’s condemnation, in a speech earlier than enterprise executives in a London banquet corridor, was fairly totally different from remarks over the weekend by President Trump, who appeared to take sides with the Russian president.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump stated Saturday, answering questions within the press cabin on Air Force One, about rising proof of Russia’s involvement within the 2016 presidential marketing campaign. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. . . . He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”

Trump stated he believed Putin was “sincere” in his denials, and even felt insulted by the accusation, in line with a Washington Post report.

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a speech on the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on the Guildhall, as Lord Mayor of the City of London Charles Bowman listens, in London on Nov. 13. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

May is confronting Russia now due to rising concern in London of widespread makes an attempt by Russia to control social media throughout Europe, “included meddling in elections and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defense and the [German] Bundestag, among many others,” the prime minister stated.

Yin Yin Lu of the Oxford Internet Institute informed the Times of London that 54 accounts on a listing of two,752 linked by Twitter to the Internet Research Agency tweeted about “Brexit,” Britain’s deliberate exit from the European Union. The Internet Research Agency is a Russian “troll factory” in St Petersburg, the newspaper stated.

The Times of London additionally reported:

“Damian Collins, the Conservative MP who is leading a parliamentary inquiry into fake news, has requested data from Twitter and Facebook on Russian accounts that posted about the EU referendum. The small number of accounts positively identified as Russian could be the tip of the iceberg, he has said.”

May’s remarks seem to contradict these of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Asked earlier this month whether or not he suspected that Russia had performed a task in current British elections, he answered: “No, I haven’t seen any [evidence], not a sausage. … As far as I know they have played no role,” in line with Reuters.

Johnson will head to Moscow subsequent month for conferences, his first as international secretary.

BuzzFeed News requested Facebook on Monday whether or not there have been “any Kremlin-linked ads” on the social web site across the time of the 2016 Brexit vote. A spokesperson informed BuzzFeed, “To date, we have not observed that the known, coordinated clusters in Russia engaged in significant coordination of ad buys or political misinformation targeting the Brexit vote.”

In BuzzFeed’s view, this meant that earlier statements from Facebook executives that there was no proof Russia had meddled within the Brexit vote have been being walked again.

In her speech, May not solely confronted Russia on its alleged cyber campaigns, however its annexation of Crimea and its stoking of battle in japanese Ukraine.

She stated this is the reason NATO is sharpening its skills “to better [be] able to deter and counter hostile Russian activity.  It is why we have stepped up our military and economic support to Ukraine … and looking at how we tighten our financial regimes to ensure the profits of corruption cannot flow from Russia into the U.K.”

The prime minister added, “We do not want to return to the Cold War or to be in a state of perpetual confrontation.”

The BBC quoted Alexei Pushkov, a Russian senator who dismissed May’s fees in a collection of tweets.

“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,” Pushkov wrote, in a BBC translation.

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