Theresa May launches attack on Russian election 'meddling'

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"And Frants Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the defence and security committee in the Parliament's upper house, said: "May has done more damage to herself than to us, making a fool of herself in the eyes of the world community and once again raising Russia's profile".

"Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us".

May said Russia's "illegal annexation of Crimea" was the first time since the Second World War that a sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. "We know what YOU are doing as well".

In what is being described as a major foreign policy address delivered at the Lord Mayor's Banquet at Mansion House in London on Monday, May said Russian Federation was waging "a sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption".

Addressing business figures at a banquet last evening, May said Vladimir Putin's government was trying to "undermine free societies" and urged him to step back from efforts to "weaponise information" through fake news, hacking and electoral interference. And you will not succeed.

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May said Russian Federation had underestimated the resilience of Western democracy, "and the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us".

Warning of the "scale and nature" of the threat posed by Russian Federation as she addressed the Lord Mayor's Banquet at the City of London's Guildhall, Mrs May said: "The UK will remain unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe's security.

At the same time London shows fundamental incomprehension of current processes in the world and of the essence of the very UN Charter-based worldwide legal order that the United Kingdom is vowing to protect", she said. She added that the "comprehensive new economic partnership" that the United Kingdom sought with Europe would "underpin" their "shared commitment" to open economies and free societies.

"As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has the reach and the responsibility to play a vital role in promoting worldwide stability", May added.

In her speech at the city of London's Guildhall during the Lord Mayor's Banquet - a formal yearly event - May targeted "the scale and nature" of Russia's actions, saying it was "threatening the global order on which we all depend".