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The illegal Russian annexation of Crimea, invasion of Donbas and anti-Russian sanctions as a result. After these events the European Union has turned away from Putin's Russia, while the Kremlin launched information war in the European territory. What is now at the stake? It’s sanctions’ pressure, because it weakens the Russian economy and the Kremlin's image, aggressive nature of which united Europe now realizes much clearer. Against the background of the words of new US President Donald Trump about the warming of US-Russian relations, the European Community noticed that it could find itself face-to-face with unfriendly Russia.
United Europe is beginning to realize that it was left alone with its problems and threats. The gradual reduction of attention to Euro-Atlantic relations from the US side, which during Donald Trump’s presidency may regain only more serious forms, makes Europeans to worry about such things as strengthening the defense of the EU. And a number of European deputies also begin to draw attention to this.
In particular, the representative of the Social Democrats of France Guillaume Balas says that “there is no “great American Dad" who will protect us. We’re left alone, and the question is how can we protect their interests together. We have difficult relations with Russia, our closest neighbor. It would be worth to conduct a dialogue, but at the same time, Russians could understand us only if we force them to respect us. So there are things that we can’t accept, say, the Russian propaganda must be fought."
Russian attempts to interfere in the internal politics of individual states, as, according to the CIA, it was in the US – it is one of the latest hybrid attacks from Russia, which are only intensifying, says a deputy.
"It is obvious that Russia is trying to make a strategic impact on the European parties, including the French National Front. All this is evidence of the fact that in relationship with Mr. Putin we should not be naive," adds the French parliamentarian.
However, for three years already community of liberal European democracies takes a position of disagreement with Moscow's aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, adds the Romanian MEP of the European People's Party, Christian Preda. However, he notes that dangerous populist tendencies are spreading around the EU proposing to close eyes on Russia’s violations of international law and restore the old relations with Moscow.
"Sanctions against Russia were implemented as an answer to Russian occupation of Crimea and aggression regarding the eastern parts of Ukraine – and these things are very serious, said the parliamentarian. - But the truth is the fact that far-left and far-right politicians in the EU are trying to come up with a new political reality, which involves improving the attitude toward Moscow. "
Romanian MEP said that Europeans understood the predatory nature of Putin's Russia, and Russian authorities realize it, therefore, to improve its image and influence in Europe, Kremlin allocates enormous funds to spread its propaganda in the European media. Instead, the European Union is already trying to resist the pro-Kremlin disinformation in the media and attempts to discredit the European Union through the press. Late last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which called on to actively respond to anti-European Russian propaganda. Special services of a number of EU countries have repeatedly warned that the Kremlin this year may order a series of targeted cyber attacks aiming to affect the elections in France and Germany.
At the same time so-called "friends of Putin" in the European Parliament sharply criticized EU efforts to confront hybrid attacks of Moscow, calling these steps russophobia. Tatiana Zhdanok, pro-Russian MEP from Latvia, in particular defends the right of every European to have access to Kremlin TV channels and information agencies.
"I have CNN, BBC, and France24 channels - I watched them all, but did not understand anything of what was happening. Especially in Syria. And to understand, I had to switch to Russia Today and Al Jazeera”, - convinced another deputies in Brussels the representative of the Russian-speaking community of Latvia.
Romanian MP Preda said that when he is watching Kremlin channels, immediately recalls the Ceausescu times when television and radio spread the ideas, that all things are bad around the world, except for what is happening in home country.
"Now it sounds on RussiaToday: everything that happens outside of Russia - both economically and militarily, and politically - is awful. The great things happen only in Russia. Yes, even in the mind of Mr. Putin," said Romanian MEP.