UK PM Theresa May accuses Russian Federation of meddling in election, cyber espionage

Theresa May

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Kremlin had interfered in last year's presidential election, something that victor Donald Trump has fervently denied.

"We know what you are doing", May said in a section of a foreign-policy speech in London late Monday that she addressed to Russian Federation.

May told Putin in a speech that Britain was ready to fight back against attempts to destabilize Western democracy that she said included "meddling in elections", Bloomberg reported.

Delivering what she described as a "very simple message" for President Vladimir Putin, she said he must choose a very "different path" from the one that in recent years had seen Moscow annex Crimea, foment conflict in Ukraine and launch cyber attacks on governments and Parliaments across Europe. "And you will not succeed", May said.

"The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise", she warned.

Her comments mark a division with U.S. President Donald Trump, who said Saturday that he believed Putin's denials of election-meddling were honest.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faced questions after a photograph emerged of him alongside Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who is caught up in the US investigation into Russian influence on the presidential election, amid allegations that he said he had access to "dirt" on Hilary Clinton.

He told MPs earlier this month that he had not seen any evidence of Russian Federation trying to interfere in British elections or the 2016 Brexit vote, in which Moscow has insisted it remained neutral. "As far as I know they have played no role", according to Reuters.

BuzzFeed News on Monday asked Facebook whether there were "any Kremlin-linked ads" on the social site around the time of the 2016 Brexit vote. A spokesperson told Buzzfeed, "To date, we have not observed that the known, coordinated clusters in Russian Federation engaged in significant coordination of ad buys or political misinformation targeting the Brexit vote".

In her speech, she also said the authorities in Myanmar must take "full responsibility" for what "looked like ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya people in Rakhine province.

Meanwhile, NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid that Spain is the latest country to accuse the Kremlin of spreading fake news aimed at disrupting politics: Lauren tells our Newscasts unit that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says that more than half of social media site accounts spreading "disinformation" about Catalonia have been traced to Russian Federation.

"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".

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