France Says Almost All EU States Target of Russian Propaganda

(Bloomberg) -- Nearly all European Union countries are being targeted by pro-Russian online propaganda ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections in early June, France’s EU affairs minister said.

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French government efforts to tackle foreign interference and disinformation have uncovered 31 new websites that are spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda across Europe, Jean-Noel Barrot told a news conference. This adds to 193 domains already identified.

Twenty-five of the EU’s 27 member states have been targeted in recent months, France’s ministry of foreign affairs revealed on Monday. Barrot said these web-based operations are aimed at destabilizing public opinion ahead of the vote.

Speaking to reporters alongside his German and Polish counterparts near Paris, he urged social platforms to block websites that are “participating in a foreign interference operation.”

“2024 is a year of major elections, in Europe and beyond,” the three ministers said in a joint statement. “We will not tolerate any attempts to interfere in our democratic processes.”

French officials have long warned that Russia is using online misinformation campaigns to promote its agenda and undermine international support for Ukraine. President Emmanuel Macron, who has hardened his stance against Moscow, has recently stepped up efforts to tackle Russian propaganda.

--With assistance from Arne Delfs and Natalia Ojewska.

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