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Lavrov: EU policing media mirrors ‘Orwellian’ hunt for dissidents, and subverts trust

October 31, 13:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Lavrov noted that without a single iota of evidence Russia was being accused of meddling in other countries' affairs

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© Vyacheslav Prokofiev/TASS

MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. The rise of special agencies in Europe to grapple with hybrid threats without Russia taking part looks like a hunt for dissidents and by no means helps restore any trust, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses.

"For confronting imaginary threats from Moscow various anti-Russian structures, such as the strategic communications group for the East are being created within the European External Action Service and the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid threats in Helsinki," he said.

Lavrov recalled that at a recent meeting with his Finnish counterpart he asked what the center’s activities would be focused on. In reply Timo Soini expressed interest in Russia’s cooperation with that center.

"But that was verbal contact," Lavrov said. "Nobody has invited us yet. If we are invited, this would be of interest. For now there has been no invitation. Such steps to create various agencies to police hybrid threats and mass media look very much like a hunt for dissidents. It will hardly help restore any trust."

Lavrov noted that without presenting a single iota of evidence Russia was being accused of "meddling in elections not only in the United States, but also in European countries. Just recently there were charges circulating that Moscow decides who should be appointed to a ministerial post in South Africa."

"In a word, fantasies are limitless," Lavrov said.

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