British Prime Minister Theresa May spared no words in her criticism of Russia and President Vladimir Putin on Monday, accusing Moscow of attempting to undermine the West by election meddling and seeking to “weaponize” information.
May’s sharp criticism of Putin contrasts sharply with that of President Trump who mostly skirted around the issue and cast doubt on allegations by the U.S. intelligence community about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I have a very simple message for Russia,” the British leader said. “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 told the audience at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that “it is Russia’s actions which threaten the international order on which we all depend.”
“Russia can, and I hope one day will, choose this different path,” she said. “But for as long as Russia does not, we will act together to protect our interests and the international order on which they depend.”
Russia, she said, “is seeking to weaponize information, deploying its state-run media organizations to plant fake stories and Photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.”
Russia linked material permeated Facebook and Instagram during the election campaign and the Russians are also accused of running “troll” factories that generate fake news and propaganda.
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