U.S. accuses Russia of funding political parties around the world to influence other countries

The United States has accused Russia of financing with at least 300 million euros to political parties and candidates in nearly thirty countries with the aim of influencing other states, as reported Wednesday by ‘The Washington Post’.

The Kremlin would have planned, since 2014, to allocate hundreds of millions of euros as part of a covert campaign to weaken democratic systems and promote political forces considered aligned with Russian interests, according to a report of the US Intelligence Services to which the cited newspaper has had access.

Among the countries Russia would have tried to influence are states in Europe, Africa and other parts of the world.

Senior officials have pointed to the example of an Asian country — which they declined to name — where the Russian ambassador offered millions of euros to a presidential candidate. Other countries on the Kremlin’s list include Albania, Montenegro, Madagascar and, potentially, Ecuador, according to ‘The Washington Post’.

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“By shedding light on Russian covert political funding and Russian attempts to undermine democratic processes, we are putting these foreign parties and candidates on notice that if they accept Russian money in secret we can and will expose it,” a senior U.S. official has warned.

He has also argued that Kremlin-linked forces have also used shell companies, opinion groups and other means to influence political events, sometimes to the benefit of far-right groups.

In the United States, the Obama Administration detected a spike in Russian covert political funding in 2014.

Later, assessments by U.S. spy agencies and a bipartisan Senate investigation concluded that Russia, under the command of President Vladimir Putin, launched a campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to help then-candidate Donald Trump.

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Since earlier this year, the White House has made a decision to repeatedly release declassified intelligence related to Moscow’s intentions and actions related to Ukraine, as part of an attempt to push back against Putin’s ambitions there and counter what U.S. officials have described as Russian disinformation operations.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department sent a letter to U.S. Embassies in more than 100 countries outlining the alleged Russian activities and suggesting steps the United States and its allies can take to counter them, such as sanctions, travel bans or the expulsion of suspected Russian spies involved in political funding activities.

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