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Belgium investigates Russian interference in EU election campaign

Belgian intelligence services have uncovered evidence of Russian influence groups meddling in European elections to bolster pro-Russian narratives and candidates, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced today.
Belgium Ukraine Russian influence
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Belgium investigates Russian interference in EU election campaign

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced during a press conference today that Russian influence groups are interfering in European elections to promote pro-Russian candidates and thus weaken European support for Ukraine. As reported by Belgian news website VRT and Reuters.

According to De Croo, Belgian intelligence services have confirmed that Russian influence operations have been ongoing within European institutions. The goal is to strengthen Russia’s position within the European Union as a whole.

“The goal is to help elect more pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament and to reinforce a certain pro-Russian narrative in that institution,” he said.

De Croo emphasized that weakening European support  for Ukraine helps Russia on the battlefield in its war of aggression.

He noted that the investigation in Belgium was launched after the Czech authorities discovered pro-Russian agents in Brussels who tried to influence European MPs and even pay them to promote the pro-Russian agenda.

According to him, it turned out that the cash payments were not made in Belgium, although interference did take place in that country.

De Croo said he had asked for an urgent meeting of Eurojust, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, to discuss the issue and suggested that the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF investigate the case.

“We have a responsibility and our duty is to protect the right of every citizen to vote freely and securely,” he summarized.

As Russian influence operations affect the entirety of the Union, De Croo said that measures should be taken not only on a national level but on an international level as well. In addition, he announced that he would make several proposals next week to strengthen European institutions against future influence operations.

“We cannot tolerate this Russian threat in our midst,” De Croo said. “We have to do something at both the national and European levels,” the Belgian PM concluded.

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