By Wouter De Leeuw, intern at AEJ Belgium

During the EP press briefing, French MEP Nathalie Loiseau (from Renew Europe) voiced concerns over hostile recent communications from the Kremlin towards Ukraine and the West. Moscow, she said, is trying to make Russians and Europeans believe that EU sanctions are not having the desired effect.

Investments by the Russian government in propaganda are estimated to be around 300 million dollars, according to US intelligence services, she noted during the press briefing.

The liberal MEP also mentioned the conflict in Burkina Faso as an example where Russian anti-European propaganda, mostly against France, and how it would have influenced the coup of new leader Ibrahim Traoré. Meanwhile, protesters at the French embassy in Ouagadougou are carrying the Russian flag through the streets.

The biggest problem, according to Loiseau, is that several observers at the Ukrainian referenda, including Europeans, would have collaborated with this Russian hostile propaganda.

The MEP singled out British journalist Vanessa Beeley, accusing her of spreading fake news, demanding sanctions on all international observers of the elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and certain Russian-controlled territories in Eastern Ukraine.

Vanessa Beeley is known as a British blogger, journalist and activist, who is specialised in the Syrian civil war. Loiseau is not the first politician to call her out for connections with anti-Western leaders. In 2017, Danish politician Naser Khader criticised her for spreading misinformation and having connections with the Syrian regime and Russia.