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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017

    Assange: West Portrays Russian 'Trolling' as 'Threat' to Justify Budget Boost

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    Western states intentionally portray Russia's teasing as "threat" to be able to increase their military spending, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The WikiLeaks founder suggested that the fact that Russia included the US capital in the itinerary of its military plane's Wednesday authorized flight as part of the Treaty on Open Skies was an example of Russia's "trolling." According to Assange, Russia is engaging in trolling to offset its weaknesses.

    "Western security state interests want to hype up [Russian] 'threat' as opposed to 'trolling' so as to increase their importance and budgets. [US] Democrats want to hype up 'threat' as opposed to 'trolling' so as to foster their excuse for losing election narrative. Russian apologists and anti-Westerns want to make Russia look strong or honest so they also will not talk about Russian trolling," Assange wrote on his Twitter.

    ​Assange said that the current German government was "incentivized" to promote the idea of the Russia threat in the runup to the general election slated for the fall, so that any criticism of their policies would seem to be "subject to neo-McCarthyisst suspicions." He added that similar situation could be seen in Russia, where the "threatening tone" from the West helped achieve greater unity between the state and the people, ahead of the upcoming 2018 presidential election.

    Russia has faced multiple allegations of having interfered in the US presidential election in 2016 and planning to meddle in other countries' votes. Moscow has denied such claims, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointing out that no facts to prove the allegations had been provided.

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a Russian monitoring team is carrying out a surveillance mission in the United States on August 7-12 as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows both the United States and Russia, as well as other participant states, conduct surveillance flights over each other's territory. The routes have been approved by the United States and US specialists on board the aircraft are monitoring the usage of surveillance equipment.

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    trolling, Russian threat, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Russia
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