A new research has revealed that a major operation to influence public opinion saw comments posted on Western media articles in support of Russian interests.
A unit at Cardiff University that specialises in exposing disinformation has carried out the study.
The new research was unable to say definitively who was behind the posts based on open source evidence.
But it said the actions were “indicative of a Russian state operation”.
According to the research, the comments were fed back into Russian-language media outlets as the basis for stories.
British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: “This report highlights the threat to our democracy of Russian state-backed misinformation on the internet. The UK is working closely with international allies to stand up to the Kremlin trolls peddling lies.”
However, Russia has in the past denied using online trolls to try to influence opinion in favour of Moscow and against the West.
US intelligence agencies has earlier accused the Kremlin of using online trolls the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.
But the operation has been escalating since at least 2018 and recently focused on the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In August 2021, an employee at British embassy in Berlin was arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia.
The British diplomat was suspected of passing on documents for Russian intelligence in exchange for cash.
The police arrested the suspected diplomat, identified only as David S, at his Potsdam apartment at 2.20pm on Tuesday.
Police forces have searched his home and embassy workplace on the same day.
A spokesperson for the British Home Office confirmed that the employee works for the government.
But, the source refused to comment further as there is an ongoing police investigation.”
Furthermore, Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, said the allegations potentially amounted to a “serious breach of UK national security”.
“We must take all measures to establish exactly the information passed to
Russian intelligence” he said.
“This is yet another example of the real Russian threat. We cannot acceptable that
Conservative ministers have been so slow to enact the measures necessary to protect the
UK, including implementing the recommendations of the Russia report.”
In May, the UK set out plans to crack down on hostile activity by foreign states, introducing
a proposed law to give security services and law enforcement new powers to tackle growing threats.