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Rubin: Russia uses media to dilute Balkan support for NATO

Rubin: Russia uses media to dilute Balkan support for NATO

The Kremlin is using "information as a weapon of war" to divide the United States' allies in the Balkans, and media outlets in the region must step up efforts to detect Russian disinformation and distinguish it from the truth, US diplomat James Rubin said on Monday. June 1 in an interview for Radio Free Europe.

Rubin, the US coordinator at the State Department's Global Engagement Center, called on media outlets in the region to step up their efforts to identify Russian disinformation and distinguish it from real information.

According to him, the Kremlin sees this as a component of a larger strategy, as Russia knows that it cannot ideologically dominate the war in Ukraine by conventional or traditional means.

"They are trying to use every technique they can to divide the West in its support for Ukraine," he said.

Rubin spoke to Radio Free Europe's Bulgarian service in Sofia, one of the stops during his current European tour.

His aim during this tour is to engage with governments and encourage them to cultivate the determination to identify disinformation and have the ability to take effective action against it.

He said that while every country has the right to freedom of expression and the media has the right to report the statements of foreign governments, they should refrain from spreading disinformation of foreign governments without revealing its source.

"In a democratic society, it is essential to use all available tools to distinguish between disinformation and actions orchestrated by the Kremlin aimed at causing division. These actions are aimed at disrupting the democratic process and undermining support for NATO -n," he said.

He stated that his role is to ensure transparency and disclose any ties to the Russian media, allowing each government to decide how to respond. He noted that Bulgaria, along with Slovakia and Montenegro, are among the countries where Russia has exerted financial influence and bribed politicians and the media.

The United States is also aware of China's significant spending, running into billions of dollars, on developing what it called global "disinformation manipulation systems." However, China's tactics differ from Russia's.

Chinese authorities offer their Xinhua news service to media outlets in certain countries free of charge, but they restrict newspapers from using other independent Western news agencies.

"So that means that an African journalist who writes an article about the world is writing it from a Chinese perspective, saying that terrible things happen in America and wonderful things happen in China," he said.

He emphasized that the United States is trying to ensure transparency in such situations. In this way, readers will be aware that the news received from the newspaper originates from China./ REL

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