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PM warns Putin: We know what you’re doing and it won’t work

Vladimir Putin
Image: Theresa May accused Vladimir Putin’s Russia of trying to ‘weaponise information’

Theresa May has launched a powerful attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policies during a speech in the City of London.

The Prime Minister pledged the UK will continue to play a leading diplomatic role after Brexit, suggesting a post EU divorce trade deal would support Europe’s commitment to open economies and free societies in the face of Russian threats to the international order.

In a major foreign policy address at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, she said: “The UK will remain unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.

Vladimir Putin

“And the comprehensive new economic partnership we seek will underpin our shared commitment to open economies and free societies in the face of those who seek to undermine them.

“Chief among those today, of course, is Russia. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe.

“Since then, Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbass, repeatedly violated the national airspace of several European countries, and mounted a sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption.”

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Mrs May accused Russia of “seeking to weaponise information” as she criticised Moscow’s meddling in elections and hacking of Denmark’s defence ministry and the German parliament.

She also accused Moscow of “deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions”.

“So I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed,” she said.

“Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us.

“The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.”

Protester throws Russia flags at Donald Trump

The PM announced Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will visit Moscow in the coming months for talks, as she promised Britain will “take the necessary actions to counter Russian activity”.

But she added current tensions are “not the relationship with Russia we want”.

“We do not want to return to the Cold War, or to be in a state of perpetual confrontation,” she said.

“Many of us here looked at a post-Soviet Russia with hope.

“Because we know that a strong and prosperous Russia which plays by the rules would be in the interests of the United Kingdom, Europe and the world.

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has the reach and the responsibility to play a vital role in promoting international stability.

“Russia can, and I hope one day will, choose this different path.

“But for as long as Russia does not, we will act together to protect our interests and the international order on which they depend.”

President Trump called the Russia dossier a 'disgrace'. Pic: Ingraham Angle/ Fox News

On the Middle East, the Prime Minister announced she would visit Jordan later this month to discuss its moves to deal with the challenge of refugees from Syria.

And claiming that Britain is at the forefront of international efforts in the fight against Islamic State and Islamist terrorism, Mrs May warned the Government would order military intervention where necessary.

“Of course we must never be paralysed by the myth that armed intervention is doomed to fail,” she said.

“And the UK is not and will not be afraid to deploy its hard power where necessary.”

On Africa, the Prime Minister revealed she has asked the new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who succeeded Priti Patel last week, to link aid and trade.

“It is our partnership with the countries of Asia and Africa in particular that will define the course the world takes,” Mrs May said.

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    California ‘torture parents’ plead not guilty

    Louise and David Turpin appear in court for her arraignment in Riverside
    Image: David and Louise Turpin face 94 years in prison if convicted of the alleged torture and abuse

    The parents of 13 children have appeared in court accused of abusing and starving them and chaining them to their beds in their squalid California home.

    David Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Anna Turpin, 49, their hands and legs shackled, appeared calm as they pleaded not guilty on Thursday to multiple charges of abuse, torture and imprisonment.

    The pair were arrested on Sunday after their 17-year-old daughter jumped out of a window at their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, and used a mobile phone to call police.

    She had been planning the escape with one of her sisters for two years, but the sibling, who also managed to flee the house with her, became frightened and returned to the property.

    Louise and David Turpin appear in court for her arraignment in Riverside
    Image: Louise Turpin and her husband David reject the allegations

    Prosecutors say the alleged abuse by the Turpins started many years ago when the family lived in Texas, and intensified over time as they relocated to Murrieta, California, in 2010, before moving to their current family home in 2014.

    In a news conference, Riverside County district attorney Mike Hestrin revealed more information about the charges, along with harrowing details of the alleged abuse, describing it as a case of “human depravity”.

    :: A happy family? Photos of chained siblings

    The children, aged between two and 29, were held captive at home and denied basic freedoms.

    The only thing they were allowed to do was to write in their journals – hundreds of which are being reviewed for evidence.

    They were only allowed to shower once a year, it is claimed, and if they ever washed their hands above their wrists they would be accused of playing with the water and punished.

    Louise and David Turpin appear in court for her arraignment in Riverside
    Image: David Turpin is also charged with committing a lewd act on a child under 14

    The district attorney described the alleged torture as “severe, emotional, physical abuse”, and revealed that at least one of the children had once been hogtied.

    “The victims said as a punishment they would be tied up with ropes but when they were able to escape, their parents began using chains and padlocks,” he said.

    Other punishments included “frequent beatings” and “strangulation”.

    Mr Hestrin said the children would be chained up for weeks, or even months at a time, and would not be freed to go to the toilet.

    The prosecution claims when they were not chained up, they were kept in separate rooms and fed very little and on a schedule.

    It is alleged the mother and father would buy food for themselves but not give any of it to their sons and daughters.

    Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announces charges against David Turpin and Louise Turpin...
    Image: Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced the charges

    “They would buy food, including pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, leave it on the counter. let the children look at it but not eat the food,” said Mr Hestrin.

    :: Captive siblings: Police reveal how girl escaped

    Its is alleged that when the family lived in Texas the parents at one point lived apart from most of their children and would drop off food from time to time.

    Mr Hestrin said the children had been starved so much they were malnourished, their growth was stunted and their muscles deteriorating.

    The eldest, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just over five-and-a-half stone (82lbs), and a 12-year-old appeared to be the size of an average seven-year-old.

    Mr Hestrin said there had been no torture charge filed in relation to the two-year-old because the toddler appeared to be “getting enough food”.

    None of the victims had seen a doctor in more than four years, and none of them had ever seen a dentist, according to the district attorney.

    The Turpin family
    Image: The Turpin family

    “They were not allowed to have toys, although there were many toys found in the house that were in their original package and had never been opened,” he said.

    The victims lacked a basic knowledge of life. Many of the children did not know what a police officer was, he continued.

    When the 17-year-old was asked if there was any medication or pills in the home, she did not know what they were.

    The parents turned their home into a private school called Sandcastle Day School, where the father was listed as the principal and its six pupils were the couple’s younger children.

    However, at least one of the older boys attended college classes, Mr Hestrin said, but his mother would accompany him, wait outside and take him home once his class had finished.

    Mr Hestrin said the entire family would sleep during the day, going to bed at around 4am or 5am, and be up all night.

    When officers raided the home they found one of the siblings, a 22-year-old, chained to a bed and evidence suggesting two others – aged 11 and 13, had been freed moments before their arrival.

    David Turpin and Louise Turpin appear in court for their arraignment in Riversid
    Image: The couple were arrested on Sunday

    The couple were charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependant adult.

    David Turpin was also charged with performing a lewd act on a child, a girl, under the age of 14.

    When asked to elaborate on the lewd act charge, Mr Hestrin said: “We are alleging that David Turpin touched one of the victims in a lewd way by using force or fear.”

    The parents – who were married in 1985 in Pearlsburg, Virginia, when he was 23 years old and she was 16 – could each face 94 years in jail if found guilty.

    “A case like that sticks with you and haunts you,” Mr Hestrin said.

    More from California

    • Dogs found in Turpin ‘torture home’ to be raffled

    • Could there be a second Hollywood sign?

    • The normal house and family cars that hid a horrible secret

    • Captive siblings: Police reveal how girl escaped

    • A happy family? Photos add to mystery after siblings found chained to beds

    • Adults and children found chained to their beds in a US home

    “Sometimes in this business you are faced with human depravity, and that’s what we have here.”

    The Turpins are next due in court on 23 February.

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