US ambassador: Russia is trying to undermine Romanians’ trust in EU, NATO

U.S. ambassador to Bucharest Hans Klemm argued that Russia employs subtle tactics in Romania to undermine the population’s trust in the European Union, NATO and in the strategic partnership with the United States, Mediafax reported.

“In addition to the cybernetic abuse, Russia has been leading a continuous propaganda and misinformation campaigns in an attempt to create confusion and to promote Kremlin’s strategic agenda. It is clear that this is a favorite method Russia uses to sow the seeds of discord and create discord between NATO allies and others it deems as adversaries,” Klemm said at a debate in Cluj-Napoca.

“Taking advantage of our democratic societies, Russia seeks to influence public opinion and, often, the elections, by spreading fake news using state media such as Russian televisions, Sputnik and social networks. In certain places, such as Romania, where the population is cautious about Russia’s motives, the Kremlin’s tactics are more subtle. Instead of trying to convince the people to support Russia’s cause, they attempt to undermine the population’s trust in the EU, NATO and in our strategic partnership,” Klemm added, quoted by Mediafax.

The ambassador also argued that defending against propaganda and misinformation is difficult in democratic countries, where freedom of speech has flourished.

“The propaganda usually spreads through obscure sites that publish false information, which later find a way into social networks and quality media, which induces confusion among public opinion as to what is true,” he said.

Klemm also spoke of the need to strengthen the local justice system so as to be able to fight against corruption.

“The U.S. Government expressed its concern regarding the legislative proposals presented by the Justice Ministry and under parliamentary debate. The justice system’s own institutions, professional associations, the civil society and regular citizens, but also the EU and several European governments have also expressed their concerns about these proposals. […] Keeping an independent justice, built in the past 15 years in Romania, reassures the Romanian people and the NATO allies of Romania’s force and resistance,” the ambassador said.

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