Russia interference should be countered with 'the truth' and not 'more propaganda,' NATO chief says

  • Speaking to CNBC at the Munich Security Conference, Jens Stoltenberg said that there have been many reports of Russian meddling in NATO countries and that the organization needs to act.
  • On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers agreed during a meeting in Brussels to step up efforts on cybersecurity.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has to respond in different ways to Russia's interference in other political systems, its secretary general told CNBC Saturday.

Authorities in the United States have accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential race. Just on Friday, the Department of Justice indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The indictment accused the Russians of seeking to wage "information warfare" and "sow discord" in the American political system.

Speaking to CNBC at the Munich Security Conference, Jens Stoltenberg said that there have been many reports of Russian meddling in NATO countries and that the organization needs to act.

"We've seen many reports and many examples of how Russia is meddling, interfering in democratic political processes in many countries, including in NATO-ally countries and we have to be able to respond to that in many different ways," he said.

"Partly by strengthening our cyber defenses, to make it much more difficult to get into our networks, and therefore we are strengthening NATO's cyber defenses," the Norwegian politician said.

On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers agreed during a meeting in Brussels to step up efforts on cybersecurity.

But according to Stoltenberg, it is also important to fight the Russian interference with facts.

"We have to be able to counter this information with facts. I don't think that the best way to respond to propaganda, misinformation is with more propaganda, but it is with facts and the truth," he argued.

"And then we need free, independent media," he said, describing it as "the best way to ensure that we have free open democratic processes."