May accuses Putin of election interference

Theresa May has launched her strongest criticism of Russia to date, accusing the Kremlin of meddling in elections.

 

The Prime Minister said Moscow had “mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption” in a speech to business leaders at a banquet in London last night.

 

May went on to say Russia was guilty of “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West”.

 

In unprecedented comments, the PM said:

ā€œI 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.ā€

 

Theresa May last met with President Putin in 2016. Source: Wikipedia

 

In contrast to May’s attack, Donald Trump resisted criticising President Putin after the two met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) last week. In an off-script chat on board Air Force One, Trump recounted his conversation with the Russian leader: “He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. But I just asked him again, and he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they’re saying he did.”

 

Following Mrs May’s comments last night, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted the following response.

 

May said as the UK left the EU and charted a new course in the world, it would remain absolutely committed to NATO and securing a Brexit deal which “strengthens our liberal values”, adding that a strong economic partnership between the UK and EU would be a bulwark against Russian agitation in Europe.

 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Russia next month on a diplomatic visit.

 

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