British Prime Minister Theresa May has launched her strongest attack on Russia yet, accusing Moscow of meddling in elections and carrying out cyber espionage.
Addressing leading business figures at a banquet in London, the Prime Minister said Russia’s Vladimir Putin‘s government was trying to “undermine free societies”.
May said the Russian government was “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the west”.
But, she added, whilst the UK did not want “perpetual confrontation” with Russia, it would protect its interests.
Her comments are in stark contrast to those of US President Donald Trump, who last week said he believed President Putin’s denial of intervening in the 2016 presidential election.
Russia could be a valuable partner of the West but only if it “plays by the rules”, she argued.
“Russia has 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.
“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,” May stated.