Russia meddled in British, Spanish elections, officials say

Leaders of Britain and Spain accuse Russia of meddling in their elections, while President Trump appears to give Putin a pass.
By David Sims | Nov 20, 2017
The prime ministers of Britain and Spain have both accused Russians of interfering in their countries' elections and promised to retaliate.


British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday night that Russia deployed "state-run media organizations to plant fake stories" and was trying to "undermine free societies" as well as "sow discord" between Britain and its western allies.


"So I have a very simple message for Russia," May said, as reported by The Washington Post. "We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed."


Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday that an army of bots spread "fake news" about Spain during Catalonia's bid for independence last month. More than half of the accounts originated in Russian territory.


Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis was asked Monday in Brussels whether his government had hard evidence of Russian interference.

"Yes, we have proof," he told Reuters.


President Trump, on the other hand, appeared to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend in response to reporters' questions on Air Force One.


"He said he didn't meddle," Trump said, when asked about growing evidence of Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. "He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did."

Russian officials called the accusations unsubstantiated.


"In normal life, people are held responsible for slander and mudslinging, but there is the 'Russians-did-it' presumption of modern diplomacy," wrote Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee for the upper house of Russia's parliament, on Facebook. "Why bother giving any facts or proof?"

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