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Former Diplomats Warn That Russian Election Meddling Continues In Europe

  • RFE/RL

Vesko Garcevic, former Montenegrin ambassador to NATO

WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. and European diplomats and other political experts are warning that Russian interference in European elections is continuing unabated and that both Washington and Brussels need to cooperate more closely on the issue.

Speaking at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on June 28, Vesko Garcevic, a former Montenegrin ambassador to NATO, cited an attempted coup his country experienced in 2016.

Garcevic said Russia was funding a pro-Russia political party in Serbia in an attempt to undermine Montenegro’s NATO membership bid.

Nicholas Burns, a former senior U.S. State Department official, said Russia had targeted not only Montenegro but also recent and upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany.

Janis Sarts, who heads a NATO-funded think tank in Riga, said the recent French presidential election showed a better way to respond to Russian efforts at hacking or spreading misinformation.

“A nation that is aware it is under attack is far more resilient than a nation that is oblivious to that,” he said.

The Senate committee is one of several congressional panels investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Those efforts have been hampered partially by President Donald Trump’s mixed messages about the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions on the scope of the interference.

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