U.S. and its allies should condemn Russia for destabilizing democracies: Speaker Ryan

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The United States and its allies should condemn Russia for meddling in elections and launching cyber attacks, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday and commended unity shown over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.

Ryan was speaking in the Czech Republic, whose government was one of 18 including London and Washington to expel a total of 100 Russian diplomats to punish the Kremlin for the attack on March 4.

"It is important that we work in solidarity with each other, free people in democracies to stop Russia and condemn Russia for this kind of belligerent activity," Ryan said.

"Whether it is the specific activity in Britain or the fact that Russia is trying to sow chaos with disinformation and meddle in democracies in other countries. That is violating the sovereignty of other countries," said the Republican politician.

Ryan is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Prague since President Barack Obama in 2010. He met Prime Minister Andrej Babis but not President Milos Zeman, who has often taken pro-Russian positions.

Ryan also said he raised the case of suspected Russian computer hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin who Czech police arrested in October 2016 on a U.S. warrant, four years after he is alleged to have hacked into U.S.-based social media companies LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring.

Russia is also seeking Nikulin's extradition on a Moscow court warrant and both countries await the decision of Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan.

"Czech laws on extradition are extremely clear, our laws are very clear so once these laws are followed we have every reason to believe and expect Mr. Nikulin will be extradited to America," he said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)