Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed European warnings about “Russian propaganda”, saying that anything which countered the mainstream narrative was now labelled as propaganda by the West.

Peskov was asked about a Monday meeting between the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland at which they warned of a spike in Russian propaganda in European countries ahead of June’s elections to the European Parliament.

In a call with reporters, the Kremlin spokesman said: “It is obvious now that any sources, media or materials from the Internet that do not meet the criteria, do not operate within the information mainstream and try to cover events from different sides, are immediately recognised as propaganda tools,” the spokesman added.

“This is absolutely contrary to the ideals of a free press and once again demonstrates the authorities’ readiness to punish media they dislike. This happens often in Europe now.”

Western nations have repeatedly accused Russian operatives of using social media and the internet to spread false or misleading information to undermine them, promote Russia or attempt to sway public opinion against backing Ukraine in its fight against Russia.