Theresa May has launched her strongest attack on Russia yet, accusing Moscow of meddling in elections and carrying out cyber espionage.
Addressing leading business figures at a banquet in London, the prime minister said Vladimir Putin’s government was trying to “undermine free societies”.
Mrs May said it was “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West”.
But, she added, whilst the UK did not want “perpetual confrontation” with Russia, it would protect its interests.
Her comments are in stark contrast to those of US President Donald Trump, who last week said he believed President Putin’s denial of intervening in the 2016 presidential election.