Russian agents engage in secret collaboration with environmental organizations in the West to spread disinformation and undermine the action plans for the development of alternative sources of energy – NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday in London.
During a speech at Chatham House, one of the most important international relations think tanks in the world, Rasmussen said that it is in Russia’s interest to maintain the dependence of Western Europe on Russian gas and sabotaging the work on the production of shale gas. He referred to disinformation campaigns as “sophisticated”.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”
He declined to give details of those operations, saying: “That is my interpretation.”
A Nato official told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that Russia’s influence on energy supplies was causing problems for Europe. The official said: “We don’t go into the details of discussions among allied leaders, but Russia has been using a mix of hard and soft power in its attempt to recreate a sphere of influence, including through a campaign of disinformation on many issues, including energy. In general, the potential for Russia using energy supplies as a means of putting pressure on European nations is a matter of concern. No country should use supply and pricing terms as tools of coercion.
“As energy supplies and routes are an issue mostly for the EU, we count on the EU to take into account the new security realities in Europe and look at whether there is a need to review diversifying energy sources and expanding energy infrastructure. Clearly, it is in the interest of all Nato allies to be able to have adequate energy supplies. This is critical to our economies, our security and our prosperity. We share a concern by some allies that Russia could try to obstruct possible projects on shale gas exploration in Europe in order to maintain Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.”
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth strongly disassociated itself from Rasmussen’s statements.
Spokesman of the first of them recalled that last year the Russian secret services have arrested Greenpeace activists protesting against drilling in the Arctic, threatening them with severe punishment for alleged piracy at sea.
“The idea we’re puppets of Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder what they’re smoking over at Nato HQ,” said Greenpeace.
Andrew Pendleton, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, added: “Perhaps the Russians are worried about our huge wind and solar potential and have infiltrated the UK government.”
Nato’s press office said the remarks were Rasmussen’s personal views, not official policy.
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