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Vladimir Putin 'waging propaganda war on UK from Edinburgh', the Times claims

Edinburgh

Vladimir Putin is using the recently opened Edinburgh bureau of its state-backed news agency to wage a propaganda campaign on the UK, according to the Times.

In its report today, the broadsheet accuses the Kremlin of "spreading disinformation through a newly opened British bureau for its Sputnik international news service" and additionally claims it "is infiltrating elite universities by placing language and cultural centres on campuses".

The paper points to Sputnik's suggestions that murdered MP Jo Cox may have been killed as part of a plot to sway the EU referendum result as an example of the kind of dubious reportage which has since been repeated on Russian TV. "Although it is a fringe broadcaster, its stories are picked up by respectable media and politicians," the Times asserts.

An online news and and radio broadcast service, Sputnik was established in 2013 as the international operation of the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya.

Although Sputnik insisted it had "no preference towards one political source", a Nato source quoted by the Times said: "The Russian information effort is to muddy the waters, to create uncertainty ... Sputnik is part of an overall effort [to] present a Russian view.”

Russia's manoeuvres in the west were already under scrutiny this week amid accusations that the hacking of Democratic Party systems in the US could be the work of Russia's intelligence services.

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