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Russia Is 'Weaponizing Misinformation,' Says UK Defense Secretary

by Petra Cahill and Reuters / / Source: NBC News
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon departs 10 Downing Street following a cabinet meeting in London on Jan. 31.Andy Rain / EPA

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Russia is “weaponizing misinformation” in a deliberate campaign to destabilize governments in the West and expand its influence, warned British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon Thursday.

During a speech at St. Andrews University in Scotland on Thursday, Fallon accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of choosing to make his country an adversary of the West following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and ushering in a "post-truth age."

The Kremlin said on Friday that the allegations by Fallon were "baseless" and a source of regret.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon departs 10 Downing Street following a cabinet meeting in London on Jan. 31.Andy Rain / EPA

The comments came as the U.K.'s Prime Minister Theresa May was preparing to ask fellow NATO members to contribute more towards defense.

Fallon said that NATO members must do more to strengthen their cyber defenses, pointing to a series of cyberattacks that have been blamed on Russia.

"Today we see a country that in weaponizing misinformation has created what we might now see as the post-truth age. Part of that is the use of cyber-weaponry to disrupt critical infrastructure and disable democratic machinery," Fallon said in the speech.

"Russia is clearly testing NATO and the West. It is seeking to expand its sphere of influence, destabilize countries and weaken the alliance," he added.

"Therefore it is in our interest and Europe's to keep NATO strong and to deter and dissuade Russia from this course," Fallon said.

The Kremlin responded to Fallon’s comments on Friday.

"We express regret for this hostile stance of the minister. We are sure that such allegations are baseless," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

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