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Belgium and Czechia Call for Sanctions Over Russian Election Interference in EU

Belgium and Czechia Call for Sanctions Over Russian Election Interference in EU
Photo: Alexander De Croo via Official Webportal of the Parliament of Ukraine

In a joint initiative, Belgium and the Czech Republic are urging the European Union to implement sanctions to combat Russian interference in the upcoming European elections. This call to action follows the revelation of early interference in several member states.

As outlined in an open letter addressed to the leadership of the EU, signed by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo and Czech President Peter Fiala and directed to the heads of the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, instances of pro-Russian disinformation and interference were detected in various member states. Belgian security services uncovered a network operating within Belgium, with financial transactions partly occurring in the Czech Republic. This network’s objectives include fostering collaboration among pro-Russian politicians in the European Parliament, supporting the election of more pro-Russian candidates, and appointing individuals affiliated with this network as staff members of newly elected members of the European Parliaments.

In response to these concerns, Belgium, among other EU nations, has initiated a criminal investigation, while the Czech Republic has imposed sanctions on several individuals for their efforts to undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“The plan is to produce a state of play of disinformation on a very regular basis. We will link this information together, share it with member states and work with national judicial authorities to take action,” stated De Croo during a press conference.

Belgium underscores the specific risk posed not only to EU institutions but also to NATO, whose headquarters are located near its capital, Brussels. The European parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 6-9.

“It is the right time to establish a new restrictive measure regime aimed to counter Russian malign activities,” concluded the leaders in their letter.

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