UK Markets close in 7 mins
  • FTSE 100

    6,721.41
    -18.98 (-0.28%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    20,841.46
    -40.00 (-0.19%)
     
  • AIM

    1,199.19
    +11.69 (+0.98%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1306
    +0.0033 (+0.29%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3734
    +0.0079 (+0.5796%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    23,280.56
    -2,294.25 (-8.97%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    634.06
    -45.84 (-6.74%)
     
  • S&P 500

    3,857.05
    +5.20 (+0.13%)
     
  • DOW

    31,207.30
    +18.92 (+0.06%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    53.19
    -0.12 (-0.23%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,863.80
    -2.70 (-0.14%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,756.86
    +233.60 (+0.82%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    29,927.76
    -34.71 (-0.12%)
     
  • DAX

    13,923.81
    +2.44 (+0.02%)
     
  • CAC 40

    5,597.81
    -30.63 (-0.54%)
     

Russian ambassador dismisses report on alleged election interference as 'much ado about nothing'

Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor
·2-min read
Andrey Kelin says it is not in Russia's interest to 'amplify division'

Russia's ambassador to London has dismissed claims of Russian election interference efforts, cyber attacks and espionage against the UK contained in a new report as "much ado about nothing".

Andrei Kelin denied that the Kremlin tried to interfere in the Brexit referendum and refuted allegations it meddled with Scotland's independence vote, saying such action was not in Moscow's interests.

The senior diplomat rejected claims that the UK is a top Russian intelligence target, saying that the Intelligence and Security Committee's assessment greatly exaggerated the UK's significance to Russia.

He also again pushed back on a long-held allegation by the UK that Russia was behind the attempted assassination of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Ultimately, he said that Moscow wanted friendly relations with the UK and other western allies.

"My first impression is that the Shakespeare phrase is very much applicable - it is much ado about nothing," Mr Kelin told Sky News when asked for his response to the Russia report.

"The report is called Russia but if you will put any other country's name [at the front of the report] it would be the same because this report is not about Russia - it is about the internal relationships of agencies within the UK."

:: Listen to Polonium and the Piano Player on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker or wherever good podcasts are listened to

The ambassador disagreed with analysis in the report that Russia's foreign policy is a zero-sum game that sees any action it carries out that damages the West as a positive.

He was similarly indignant about any suggestion Russia meddled in the EU referendum, saying he saw the report attacking Moscow as a convenient distraction to the UK's multiple other challenges, including China.

Russia is accused of using disinformation to amplify divisions and weaken western alliances.

Asked whether Moscow used this tactic to interfere with the Brexit vote, Mr Kelin said: "We have no means to amplify anything. For the division, division is bad, amplifying it is also bad.

"We didn't do anything which might amplify division because it's not in our interests."