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British Defense Minister Accuses Kremlin Of 'Weaponizing Misinformation'

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon

Britain's defense minister says Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to undermine the West by spreading lies and hacking critical infrastructure.

Michael Fallon said Kremlin-backed media, including RT and Sputnik, are now spreading "Soviet-style misinformation" while NATO estimates that "threatening cyberattacks" against the military alliance's digital infrastructure increased 60 percent last year over 2015.

"We see a country that in weaponizing misinformation has created what we might now see as the post-truth age," Fallon said in a speech late on February 2. "Russia is clearly testing NATO and the West. It is seeking to expand its sphere of influence, destabilize countries, and weaken the alliance."

"Part of our response is for NATO and the West to do more to tackle the false reality promoted through Soviet-style misinformation," he said. "Whatever else we do on deterrence and dialogue, we must counter Putin's Pravda with a faster truth."

At the same time, Fallon urged cooperation with Moscow and expressed hope that the West's relationship with Moscow will improve.

"We hope that Russia changes tack," he said. "Russia could again become the partner the West always wished for. We could dare to hope that."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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