LONDON: The Group of Seven richest countries will look at a proposal to build a rapid response mechanism to counter Russian “propaganda” and disinformation, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
Speaking ahead of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London, the first such in-person meeting for two years, Raab said the United Kingdom was “getting the G7 to come together with a rapid rebuttal mechanism” to counter Russian misinformation.
“So that when we see these lies and propaganda or fake news being put out there, we can — not just individually, but come together to provide a rebuttal and frankly to provide the truth, for the people of this country but also in Russia or China or around the world,” Raab said.
Russia and China are trying to sow mistrust across the West, whether by spreading disinformation in elections or by spreading lies about Covid-19 vaccines, according to British, US and European security officials.
Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria. “It’s time to think of why the countries which are sick to the core with propaganda, and which used it more than once to justify armed intervention and toppling of governments... accuse our country of their own sins,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media after Raab’s comments. China says the West is a bully and that its leaders have a post-imperial mindset that makes them feel they can act like global policemen.
Britain has identified Russia as the biggest threat to its security though it views China as its greatest long-term challenge, militarily, economically and technologically.
Raab will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (today), kicking off a week of diplomacy aimed at reinvigorating the G7’s role and forming a wider bulwark against those it sees as undermining the rules-based international order.
Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2021