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Russia is trying to interfere in the European Parliament elections. “We are being crushed by propaganda”

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Russia is once again trying to influence the election campaign. This time, the Kremlin's sights are on the June elections to the European Parliament. Authorities in France, Belgium and the Czech Republic are reporting hacker attacks and fake websites. The leaders of the latter two countries appealed to the European Commission to adopt additional sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the European Parliament election campaign.

A fake website resembling the website of the French Ministry of Defense called on the French to volunteer to fight in Ukraine. The authorities in Paris allegedly sent 200,000 soldiers to the east. Another example of Kremlin fake news is the rumor circulating on the Internet that Ukrainian refugees are increasing the risk of tuberculosis in France.

SEE ALSO: 38 million Internet users in France and Germany within the reach of a Russian propaganda operation

“We are being crushed by propaganda from Russia,” warns Jean-Noël Barrot, the French minister for European affairs. Jean-Noël Barrot says that v Recently, there hasn't been a week without a coordinated disinformation campaign against his country.

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France is the first country in Europe to create a special force to combat digital threats from abroad. In February, a unit called Viginum detected, among others, the Russian Portal Kombat network, which was supposed to spread pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian propaganda in France, Germany and Poland.

– We track disinformation threats from abroad and manipulation attempts that may pose a threat to the basic interests of our nation – says Hervé Letoqueux, Vignium's chief operating officer.

Disinformation attacks on European countries are increasing

Increasing disinformation attacks are related to the June European elections.

Last week at an EU summit, Belgium's prime minister announced that the European Union would create a temporary task force to monitor external attempts to influence the June vote. Alexander De Croo and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala informed other leaders that the Belgian and Czech services had discovered attempts to bribe EU politicians and officials. Both prime ministers wrote in a special letter: “We cannot allow Russia to get away with such a blatant attack on our democratic institutions and principles.”

They create propaganda that even reaches the House of Representatives. This is how Russian troll farms workSzymon Kazimierczak/Fakty o Świecie TVN24 BiS

– Belgian services have confirmed the existence of pro-Russian networks operating in several European countries, including here in Belgium. According to our services, Moscow's goals are very clear. This helps in the election of pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament and strengthens the pro-Russian narrative in the EU institutions. It also means weakening European support for Ukraine, which serves Russia on the battlefield, said Alexander de Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, on April 12.

Belgium and the Czech Republic called for the European Union to adopt additional sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the European Parliament election campaign.

READ ALSO: “Reflective management”. How Russia's narrative should discourage helping Ukraine

How not to fall for disinformation?

The European Commission has been warning against an increase in Russian disinformation in the coming weeks, which has been fighting against fake news created by the Kremlin since 2015.

– Our democracy is not given once and for all. The Kremlin will continue to use disinformation, hostile interference, corruption and other dirty tricks to divide Europe, says Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission. Experts advise not to get carried away by emotions. Many fake news stories are intended to provoke recipients into feeling fear, anger and frustration. Experts emphasize to question the sources of information and the intentions of their authors and to use multiple sources of information. If you only get knowledge from social media, you need to look in newspapers, turn on the TV or visit proven websites.

Author:Jakub Loska

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: SPUTNIK POOL

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