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Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to “divide and conquer” the EU by supporting rightwing populist politicians across the bloc, the Czech Republic has warned, according to The Financial Times.

“It is regularly discussed. We have no doubt Russia is finding ways to finance this,” Mr Zaoralek said. “Russia is using our weakness . . . We must find a way to respond.”

Read alsoRussian "clandestine funding" of EU far-right: How worried should we be?“This rightwing populism is very dangerous because it could really destroy the European mainstream. The long-term Russian strategy is divide and conquer,” he said.

Mr Zaoralek warned that Britain’s June 23 vote on its EU membership also risked weakening European integration and playing into Mr Putin’s hands. “This discontent with the EU in Britain . . . is a big chance for Russia to be more powerful in Europe,” he said, citing a past conversation with Mr Putin where the Russian leader warned him to “beware Brussels.”