Russia is waging ‘full spectrum’ war on Britain with fake news and hacking as important to Putin as military might, report warns
- Russia is using hackers, fake news and misinformation to attack UK and the West
- Vladimir Putin believes values of human rights and rule of law are a threat
- Report’s author Tory MP Bob Seely said Putin is ‘subverting truth’ to attack UK
Russia is waging ‘full spectrum warfare’ on Britain using tactics straight out of the Cold War, a major new report today warns.
Targeting the West with fake news and hacking is as important to Vladimir Putin’s plans as his military might, the study says.
The Kremlin is using hackers, trolls, paid protesters and misinformation as part of an attempt to destabilise the West, according to the study by Russia expert and Tory MP Bob Seely.
Mr Seely compared the approach to a Russian doll – with at least 50 tools of state power are being used in a bid to interfere abroad.
Under Vladimir Putin (pictured in Moscow a week ago) Russia is waging ‘full spectrum warfare’ on Britain using tactics straight out of the Cold War, a major new report today warns
Yulia Skripal (pictured a fortnight ago after being released from hospital, was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok alongside her father Sergei Skripal – a former Russian spy turned informant for the British security services
And he warned that Mr Putin’s modern warfare strategy will threaten Britain ‘for years to come’.
He said: ‘From fake news aimed at Europe to the propaganda of RT, and from the occupation of Crimea to the streets of Salisbury, Russia is waging a very modern kind of conflict on the West – as well as on the Russian people themselves.
What acts of aggression has Russia carried out against the West under Vladimir Putin?
Russian forces seize control of Crimea from Ukraine – sparking worldwide condemnation.
But Vladimir Putin initially denies sending in troops to the area, insisting the ‘little green men’ who appeared in Russian uniforms were actually ‘local defence forces’.
Russian forces also entered and stoked war in eastern Ukraine.
Russian hackers target the US elections – spreading fake news to meddle in the outcome and hacking Hilary Clinton’s campaign team’s emails.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the claims and so far 19 Russians have been hit with sanctions for cyber-attacks.
April – May 2017
French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says his campaign has been targeted by groups in Russia and Ukraine.
The leading centrist was running against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who was calling for closer ties with Moscow.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are poisoned on the streets of Salisbury.
The pair are slipped Novichok – a deadly nerve agent manufactured in Russia’s lab rooms at the height of the Cold War.
Theresa May says Russia is behind the attack, but the Kremlin launch a massive disinformation campaign questioning whether the UK’s security services can be trusted and suggesting Britain carried out the poisoning itself.
‘Putin’s tactics owe much to the “active measures” practised by the KGB during the Cold War, subverting truth to undermine our faith in our institutions. He seeks to demoralise and divide us.
‘The coming years will test our resilience in multiple ways.
‘If we are to counter Russian aggression and deter future attacks on us and our allies, understanding Contemporary Russian Conflict is a crucial first step.’
Mr Seely said Mr Putin and his cronies believe the Western system, based on the rule of law and universal human rights, is ‘antithetical to Russia and that the West is an adversary’.
The report, published for the Henry Jackson think-tank, offers a new definition of the type of warfare waged by the Kremlin, dubbing it ‘contemporary Russian conflict’.
It comes in the wake of growing alarm in the West at the threat posed by Putin’s Russia.
Britain blamed Moscow for the attempted murder of ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on the streets of Salisbury earlier this year.
The pair were poisoned with Novichok – a Russian made nerve agent developed in the Cold War.
But despite evidence clearly pointing towards the Kremlin’s involvement, Russia denied responsibility and wages a misinformation campaign to muddy the waters around the issue.
The Russian ambassador suggested Britain may have been behind the poisoning and questioned whether the UK’s security services can be trusted to tel the truth – views which were swiftly parroted online.
Meanwhile, Russia is alleged to have targeted both the French and US Presidential elections by spreading fake news to try to sway the vote.
Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, added: ‘Up until now, the West has been without a definition of Russian warfare in all its complexity and sophistication.
‘Bob Seely has now provided us with an approach based on common understanding of the threat we face.
‘I will be raising this with the other select committees that are investigating Russian activity in the UK.’
Russia expert and Tory MP Bob Seely compared the approach to a Russian doll – with at least 50 tools of state power are being used in a bid to interfere abroad (file pic)
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