Is Putin really so powerful who has shaken transatlantic US - Europe alliance: report

Is Putin really so powerful who has shaken transatlantic US - Europe alliance: report

WASHINGTON - Russia s Vladimir Putin employs corruption, military invasions in Europe and sprawling disinformation campaigns in attempts to undermine democracies, and US President Donald Trump has been "negligent" in countering the threats, a Senate Democratic report warned Wednesday.

A searing assessment released by Ben Cardin, top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, documented the extent of the Kremlin s "malign influence operations" including President Putin s meddling in the 2016 US election and western democracies.

Putin has spent some 20 years consolidating power, enriching himself and a tight circle of loyalists, and challenging European democracies and the foundation of the transatlantic US-European alliance, the report noted.

"Mr. Putin s Kremlin employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions, cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime, and corruption," Cardin wrote in a letter introducing the 200-page report.

"If the United States fails to work with urgency to address this complex and growing threat, the regime in Moscow will become further emboldened," he added. "It will continue to develop and refine its arsenal to use on democracies around the world, including against US elections in 2018 and 2020."

But it also levels fiery criticism at Trump, saying he is not committed to addressing the crisis.

"Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a US president," the report stated.

"President Trump has been negligent in acknowledging and responding to the threat to US national security posed by Mr. Putin s meddling."

The report recommends actions Washington should take to neutralize Kremlin aggression, such as creating a high-level "fusion cell" to counter the threats, funding pro-democracy organizations in eastern Europe, expanding sanctions and freezing Kremlin-linked "dirty money."

The report was produced by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee s Democratic staff.

The panel s Republican chairman Senator Bob Corker was aware that the minority report was being drafted but was not involved in its creation, his office said.

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