POLITICS
21/08/2018 00:02 BST | Updated 21/08/2018 16:27 BST

Jeremy Hunt To Warn US About Russian Attempts To Manipulate Elections

Foreign secretary says West must be 'blunt' about threat from Moscow.

MICHAEL KAPPELER via Getty Images

Jeremy Hunt will warn the United States about the “aggressive and malign behaviour” of Russia on Tuesday, as Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow.

Speaking in Washington DC, the foreign secretary will say “foreign attempts to manipulate elections” and “fake news” are undermining Western democracies.

Hunt will also warn against any further “weakening” of the Nato military alliance.

And he will challenge the EU to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the US and Britain over Russian aggression.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

President Trump yesterday claimed the Russia investigation run by Robert Mueller was “disgraced and discredited”.

In a series of angry tweets, Trump said “Where’s the Collusion? They made up a phony crime called Collusion, and when there was no Collusion they say there was Obstruction (of a phony crime that never existed). If you FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt, they scream Obstruction!”

Trump has horrified many US and European politicians with his reluctance to criticise Vladimir Putin, as well as his lukewarm commitment to Nato.

In his first set-piece speech as foreign secretary, Hunt will explicitly deliver a message to the US that it must confront The Kremlin.

“The established rules of international conduct are repeatedly being flouted by major countries like Russia,” he will say.

“Such aggressive and malign behaviour undermines the international order that keeps us safe.

“Of course we must engage with Moscow, but we must also be blunt: Russia’s foreign policy under President Putin has made the world a more dangerous place.”

With just over two months until the crucial midterm US elections, Hunt will also warn “modern electorates should be given confidence the results cannot be influenced by the cyber activities of other countries”.

“The heart of any democracy is freedom of expression, which allows citizens to access independent information to help decide who to vote for,” he will say.

“But the ubiquity of fake news, social media targeting and foreign attempts to manipulate elections have undermined confidence that this can actually happen.”

Hunt is due to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before travelling to New York to speak at the United Nations.