May 14, 2018 / 9:46 AM / a year ago

British spy chief says Russia is spreading lies to undermine the West

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain’s MI5 spy chief accused Russia on Monday on attempting to subvert Western democracies by sowing disinformation and spreading lies.

In the first public speech outside Britain by a serving head of MI5, Andrew Parker said Britain did not want to escalate tensions with Moscow but that a series of recent aggressive and pernicious actions directed by the Kremlin were unacceptable.

“Instead of becoming a respected great nation it risks becoming a more isolated pariah,” Parker, who said he once studied Russian, told an audience in Berlin.

“The Russian state’s now well-practised doctrine of blending media manipulation, social media disinformation and distortion along with new and old forms of espionage, and high-levels of cyber attacks, military force and criminal thuggery is what is meant these days by the term hybrid threats.”

Parker said cooperation with EU partners was essential to guard against the threats from Islamist militants and Russia.

“We must not risk the loss of mutual capability or weakening of collective effort across Europe,” Parker said. “We owe that to all our citizens across Europe.”

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

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