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US envoy: Balkans ‘poisoned’ by Russian disinformation

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A United States envoy on countering international disinformation says international locations within the western Balkan area have been “fairly significantly poisoned” by Russia’s affect campaigns


SKOPJE, North Macedonia — A U.S. particular envoy on countering international disinformation says that international locations within the western Balkan area have been “fairly significantly poisoned” by Russia’s affect campaigns.

James P. Rubin, who heads the State Division’s World Engagement Middle, traveled to North Macedonia on a tour that additionally contains stops in Montenegro and Albania.

“The primary supply of the risk on this a part of the world is Russian-generated disinformation, usually repeated and appearing as a hub by way of Serbian media platforms after which repeated and promulgated right here within the Western Balkans,” Rubin informed a gaggle of reporters late Tuesday within the capital, Skopje.

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“I might say that (this area) is fairly significantly poisoned by primarily Russian disinformation.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced the appointment of Rubin, a 63-year-old veteran diplomat, final December, anxious that disinformation campaigns engineered by Russia had intensified as a result of warfare in Ukraine and Western assist for Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir “Putin thought that he might take over the Ukrainian authorities and divide Europe. He failed in all of those elements,” Rubin mentioned.

“However that doesn’t imply Russia isn’t persevering with to attempt to unfold the poison of disinformation and division … designed to divide folks from one another, divide international locations from one another, to divide communities from one another, to carry discord.”

Rubin mentioned he was working in coordination with many European governments and the European Union, and mentioned the West is “simply starting to come back to grips” with combating again towards the brand new risk.

A US federal authorities physique, the GEC says it helps allied governments determine disinformation campaigns focusing on their international locations, offering help with analytics and analysis, and expertise assist.

An announcement from the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia mentioned Rubin additionally mentioned efforts by China “and different malign actors who deploy disinformation to undermine democracy and nationwide safety across the globe.”

On his remaining cease in Tirana, Albania, Rubin will be a part of conferences with U.S. ambassadors from throughout the Western Balkans.

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