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Russia Report: Israel 'unwilling to challenge' Kremlin influence

Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has published delayed report into Russian influence in UK

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Israel has been “unwilling to challenge” Russian influence over its affairs, the long-delayed report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has claimed.

The report into Russian influence in the UK was published on Tuesday and accused the British government of “playing catch up” when it came to attempts to meddle in elections.

But the document then noted:  “Others do not share the UK’s concerns about Russia, or even if they do they are not willing to take such an assertive approach towards Russia’s malign activities.”

It said: “France does not appear to have publicly condemned Russian cyber activities and it has been widely reported that other European governments, such as Austria and Italy, have appeared publicly to move closer to the Kremlin in the last few years.

“We also note reporting that Israel… has welcomed Russian oligarchs and their investment and has thus far been unwilling to challenge the Kremlin openly.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have long maintained friendly relations.

The ISC report – which said Russian influence in the UK was the “new normal” - also said the Kremlin has “sought to expand its influence in the Middle East.”

In Syria, it said Russia “views its intervention in support of the Assad regime a success and it is clear that its presence in Syria presents the West with difficulty in supporting peace in the region.”

It also notes Russia’s “increased links with Iran and trade initiatives with a range of countries in the Gulf area” which the report says “complicates the situation further.”

The ISC said the government "actively avoided" looking for interference during the 2016 EU referendum.

It also said there was "no reason" for the report's publication to be delayed.

Downing Street was accused of holding back the committee's report ahead of December's UK election - which it has denied.

 

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