UK 'making strides against Russia's malign influences', says Priti Patel

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UK 'making strides against Russia's malign influences', says Priti Patel

Priti Patel has said that the UK has “made strides to disrupt” Russia’s “malign influences” in the UK.

The Home Secretary also pledged to “tackle Russian information aggression” targeted at Britain.

With US President Joe Biden warning of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ms Patel, writing in TheTelegraphsaid: “We are already seeing an escalation of Russian information operations clearly intended to provide a pretext for military action against Ukraine and we should expect to see more of this as the crisis develops, including information warfare and cyber attacks aimed at the West.

“The UK Government Information Cell has brought together our counter-disinformation expertise to identify and tackle Russian information aggression targeted at the UK.”

She added: “We know the Russian regime follows a pattern of disinformation and deception to attempt to hide its outrageous actions.

“The 2019 Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act gave specially-trained police officers new powers to stop, question, detain and search individuals traveling through UK ports to determine whether they are involved in hostile state activity.

“In the last two years, the UK has introduced new sanctions regimes targeting those involved in serious corruption as well as those perpetrating some of the gravest human rights violations and abuses around the world.

“Since Salisbury, we’ve made strides to disrupt malignant influences in the UK. Following that attack, 23 Russian intelligence officers masquerading as diplomats were expelled from this country.

“Last week, we took action to strengthen and expand our Russia sanctions regime, so that a greater number of individuals and businesses with links to the Kremlin will fall within scope. This will exert the greatest pressure on Russia to change course.”

She pledged: “I am committed to taking the strongest action possible to prevent criminals, kleptocrats and corrupt elites from exploiting our financial system and threatening our national security.

“Dirty money and corruption are at the heart of the Russian government and I will not accept the business model of stealing in Russia to spend abroad in places like the UK

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“That is why I have closed the golden visa scheme for good to eliminate the opportunity for people to pay their way into the country.

“We are intensifying our response to illicit financial flows, including from Russia, such as bringing forward legislation to unmask ownership of offshore properties in the UK.”

Regarding Russia’s policy towards the Ukraine, she added: “We and our allies urge Russia to de-escalate, re-engage and choose the path of diplomacy.

“A further Russian military incursion would be not only a strategic mistake, but a political, military, humanitarian and financial disaster with nothing but tragic conclusions.”

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