Russian influence has been ‘detected’ in the Dutch referendum on the EU’s treaty with Ukraine and US security officials are to investigate, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph reported at the weekend.
Sources told the paper ‘arguments deployed in support of the referendum “closely resembled” known Russian propaganda.’
The Telegraph made the claims as part of a wider report on Russia’s alleged clandestine funding of European parties which US intelligence agencies are investigating.
The paper said it had seen a dossier of ‘Russian influence activity’ which identified Russian influence operations running in France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The Netherlands will hold a non-binding referendum on the treaty with Ukraine in April. It was called after eurosceptic campaigners, including shock blog GeenStijl, gathered over 300,000 signatures in support of a public vote.
Dutch Socialist MP Ronald van Raak (SP) has now called on the government to state if the Dutch security service AIVD is involved in any such probe. He also urged Plasterk to inform the US authorities that ‘political research by the American secret service in our country will not be accepted’, RTL news reported.
Anti-treaty campaigner Thierry Baudet, one of the people behind the referendum, said he considers the claims ‘very funny.’
‘I have never seen a cent from a foreign organisation,’ he said. ‘This would appear to be a witch hunt against Russia. It would seem that being a Eurosceptic makes you a Russian ally. That is not reality.’
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