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Bloomberg: France proposes new sanctions to target Russian disinformation, election interference

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 24, 2024 3:49 PM 2 min read
The flags of the European Union and Ukraine outside the EU Parliament building in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 24, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Ksenia Kuleshova/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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France is asking the EU to impose new sanctions to target Russian disinformation and election interference around the world, Bloomberg reported on April 24, citing a draft proposal from France.

The proposal "would target those responsible for threatening the stability, security or sovereignty of EU member states or third countries by undermining elections, the rule of law, facilitating acts of violence or do so through the use of information manipulation and interference," Bloomberg wrote.

U.S. officials have said that Russia engaged in a widespread campaign of digital disinformation and hacking in the past two American presidential elections, with particular effort dedicated to the 2016 election.

The governments of Belgium and Czechia also warned earlier in April that Russia was operating a disinformation and interference network targeting the upcoming EU parliamentary election.

"Destabilizing activities executed by Russia-related actors have increased everywhere in Europe as well – as the Russian regime has taken actions to undermine democracy, stability and the rule of law through a variety of hybrid instruments," said the French proposal seen by Bloomberg.

The proposal is backed by the Baltic states, the Netherlands, and Poland.

EU officials are particularly concerned about Russian disinformation and interference in the EU parliamentary election this year, officials told Bloomberg. They said the volume of disinformation has increased considerably in the last five years.  

Microsoft said earlier in April that a Russian online disinformation campaign targeting the upcoming U.S. presidential election has already begun.

Media: US warns 100 countries of Russian election interference threat
“Russia is pursuing operations to degrade public confidence in the integrity of elections themselves,” the U.S. said in a cable sent to embassies of around 100 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, obtained by the Associated Press.
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