Russia poses ‘significant threat’ to Britain and has repeatedly tried to meddle with UK politics, damning report reveals

RUSSIA poses a "significant threat" to the UK and has repeatedly tried to meddle with British politics, a damning report has revealed.

The long-awaited report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee confirmed a series of attempts from the Kremlin to interfere in British democracy.

The 50-page document analysed Russian meddling in UK elections and referendums across donations, cyber attacks and even assassinations.

It warns that the UK is “clearly a target for Russia’s disinformation campaigns and political influence operations”.

The shocking document says: “It is clear that Russia currently poses a significant threat to the UK on a number of fronts – from espionage to interference in democratic processes, and to serious crime.

"The UK is one of Russia’s top Western intelligence targets: particularly given the UK’s firmstance against recent Russian aggression and the UK-led international response to the 2018 Salisbury attack. 

"Russia’s intelligence services are disproportionately large and powerful and, given the lack of rule of law, are able to act without constraint."

The report warned it would be “impossible to assess” any level of interference in the Brexit vote, but demanded a further review.

It said: “The Committee has not been provided with any post-referendum assessment – in stark contrast to the US response to reports of interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"In our view there must be an analogous assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum.”

It also suggests interference in the Scottish Independence referendum.

However, it insists Britain's voting systems are solid, making it difficult to attack.

It adds: "While the mechanics of our paper-based voting system are largely sound, we cannot be complacent about a hostile state taking deliberate action with the aim of influencing our democratic processes."

The report has now urged the Government to work with social media companies to crack down on fake news pumped out by hostiles states.

It said: “The Government must now seek to establish a protocol with the social media companies to ensure that they take covert hostile state use of their platforms seriously, and have clear timescales within which they commit to removing such material.

“Government should ‘name and shame’ those which fail to act.”

Russia has been accused of repeated interventions and attacks on British soil.

This includes the Salisbury poisoning attack on spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, 33.

The ex-KGB spy and his daughter Yulia, 36, were exposed to a nerve agent and fell gravely ill after having a pizza lunch in Salisbury on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

Russia denied that their special services were involved in the attack, which sparked a diplomatic spat and the expulsion of embassy staff.

The former head of MI6 had previously claimed there was no evidence of Russian intervention in the Brexit vote, but that it interfered in the US election.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who backed Leave in Britain's referendum on European Union membership, spoke out on allegations of interference in 2017.

He said: "I've not seen anything that convinces me at all that the Russians intervened significantly in the Brexit referendum".

Publication of the report was delayed by Boris Johnson’s decision to call a general election and the need to re-establish the ISC. 

Putin’s Russia has also been accused of trying to steal a coronavirus vaccine from Britain.

The Kremlin laughed off the allegations calling them “foggy and contradictory”.

Britain pointed the finger in explosive claims the president knew about attacks on the Covid-19 vaccine project. 

Security sources say the high-tech espionage was ordered “at the highest levels” – possibly by Putin himself.

One source told The Sun the Kremlin was “terrified of being left behind” in the new Cold War race to find a vaccine.

Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrey Kelin, dismissed the claims.

He told the BBC that Russia does not interfere in other country’s domestic politics.

He said: “We do not see any point in interfering, because for us whether it is Conservative party or Labour party at the head of this country we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now.”

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