UK underestimated threat of Russian political interference, report says

By Patricia Rodríguez

London, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom’s government “underestimated” the threat of Russian interference in the county, which remains a top Western target for Moscow, according to a report by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) Tuesday.

The so-called Russia Report, drawn up by lawmakers, withholds confidential information but delves into Russia’s foreign policy activities over the years.

One of its main conclusions was that the UK government had been slow to respond to the risks posed by Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov was quick to write off the report as Russophobic, insisting that Russia had never tried to influence the outcome of elections in other countries.

“Not in the United States, nor in the UK,” he said.

The ISC Report said: “It appears that Russia considers the UK one of its top Western intelligence targets: while we may not experience the level and type of threat that countries on Russia’s borders suffer, witnesses have suggested that we would sit just behind the US and NATO in any priority list.

“This is likely to be related to the UK’s close relationship with the US, and the fact that the UK is seen as central to the Western anti-Russian lobby.”

The document lists alleged disinformation campaigns carried out by Moscow, according to information collected by British intelligence agencies and independent experts.

Turning to one of the major questions raised in UK politics — whether Russia sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum — the study said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to assess the impact of any such attempts.

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