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German interior minister warns of Russian election meddling

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Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned of the growing dangers posed by Russia’s hybrid warfare of traditional and cyber spying and accused the Kremlin of encouraging migrants to move to Western Europe.

The Social Democratic (SPD) politician, in a story in Monday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, said: “We are actually experiencing a new dimension of threats from Russian aggression.

“But espionage is also at least as active,” said Faeser. She also accused the Kremlin of deliberately promoting refugee movements to Western Europe: “Russia also wants to destabilize the West with migration.”

With an eye toward the European Parliament elections in June and German state elections in September, Faeser said the German government will gear up more strongly to defend itself against cyber espionage

“We must ensure that there are no hacker attacks on electoral authorities or on the transmission of election results”.

Faeser is focusing on the increased use of artificial intelligence to protect against disinformation campaigns and spoke out against cuts to her budget for 2025.

The interior minister also accused the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party of being close to Putin, which AfD leader Alice Weidel denied in a dpa interview.

“The AfD worships Putin and despises modern Germany,” Faeser said. The party had “radicalized itself in large parts from an anti-euro party to an anti-constitutional party.”

Faeser did not rule out the possibility of banning the AfD,a move which has been debated recently in Germany.

“If a party wants to aggressively undermine the basic democratic order, it can be banned by the Federal Constitutional Court. If the radicalization of the AfD continues, this is an option provided for in our constitution,” Faeser said.

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