Johnson Warns of Russian Interference in UK General Election
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has warned that Russian interference in the upcoming general election is a “realistic possibility.”
“I think it is a realistic possibility. Clearly we think that is what he did in America," Johnson said Friday referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"It’s blatantly obvious that’s what he did in France. In the western Balkans he is up to all sorts of sordid enterprises, so we have to be vigilant,” he told The Telegraph during a visit to Newport, south Wales, on the day of a massive cyber attack on the National Health Service (NHS).
Johnson claimed Putin would “rejoice” if Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labor Party, won at the upcoming election, Press TV reported.
He said the Russian leader wanted “to undermine faith in democracy altogether and to discredit the whole democratic process.”
Since taking up the post last July, Johnson has publicly been criticizing Moscow and its foreign policy, particularly in regard with Ukraine and Syria. He also previously ruled out relaxing sanctions against Russia.
“Putin would certainly rejoice to see British defenses weakened, Britain’s foreign policy become less active, to see us detached from the United States, that would be absolute grist to Putin’s mill, that would be just what he wants,” he said on Friday.
With regards to Brexit, Johnson said that Britain should exit the European Union (EU) in 2019 without paying a Brexit bill requested by the European Commission.
“They are going to try to bleed this country white with their bill,” he said.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the EU might seek a payment in 2019 of up to 100 billion euros, which was immediately rejected by British ministers.
Johnson was a staunch supporter of Brexit in the run-up to last year’s landmark referendum. Nearly 52 percent of British voters, amounting to more than 17 million citizens, opted to leave the EU, a decision that sent shock waves throughout the world.
Last month, the British Parliament voted almost unanimously in favor of an early general election proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May. The election will be held on June 8.