NewsBelgian Prime Minister Accuses MEPs of Spreading Russian Propaganda

Belgian Prime Minister Accuses MEPs of Spreading Russian Propaganda

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
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9:02 PM EDT, March 31, 2024, updated: 7:06 AM EDT, April 1, 2024

During a debate in the Belgian parliament, the country's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo revealed that some members of the European Parliament were implicated in spreading Russian propaganda, although he refrained from naming individuals.

During a discussion on foreign interference, he stated, "It was revealed that Russia had approached MEPs and also compensated them to spread Russian propaganda here."

A spokesperson for the Belgian Prime Minister clarified in a conversation with the news portal Politico that De Croo's comments were in reference to the Czech government's decision to sanction the Voice of Europe service. According to Prague, this service was part of a Russian influence campaign.

The Czech civil counterintelligence agency, the Security Information Service (BIS), exposed a Russian network orchestrated to influence the European Parliament elections. Czech media reports indicate that this network sought to sway politicians in six countries: Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Following a government session on Wednesday, which BIS chief Michal Koudelka attended, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced the addition of two individuals and one company to the Czech sanctions list based on information from the intelligence services.

The sanctions targeted Viktor Medvedchuk and Artem Marchevsky, two Ukraine-based businessmen and politicians with strong ties to the Kremlin and the Voice of Europe company. Voice of Europe, utilized by Medvedchuk, is registered in the Czech Republic under a Polish citizen's name. Further specifics were not provided. The inclusion on the sanctions list was due to their roles in "advancing the foreign policy interests of the Russian Federation and engaging in political and propaganda activities undermining the territorial integrity, independence, stability, and security of Ukraine."

Additionally, the assets of the sanctioned company were frozen, and it is prohibited from transferring assets abroad. Nonetheless, its operation within the Czech Republic has not formally been banned.

Delphine Colard, the European Parliament's deputy spokesperson, mentioned that the Parliament is "analyzing the findings" from the Czech authorities regarding Voice of Europe.

Reporting from Brussels was Artur Ciechanowicz (PAP), and from Prague, Piotr Górecki (PAP).
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