by Oleg Burunov
Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin earlier stated that Moscow has never interfered in British politics and is instead looking for common ground to bolster bilateral relations.
The UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russia’s alleged meddling in Britain’s internal political process is due to be released later on Tuesday, according to The Guardian.
The 50-page document reportedly contains allegations of Moscow’s attempts to interfere in British politics going back to the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 general election.
The report was originally compiled in late 2019 by the previously convened Intelligence and Security Committee, but was withheld from publication ahead of December’s general election after Prime Minister Boris Johnson dissolved parliament.
London has consistently denied that the delay occurred for political reasons.
Bloomberg quoted several unnamed sources as saying late last year that the committee did not find any solid evidence of past Russian interference in British politics, but claimed that the risk of such meddling could still exist in the future.
Moscow Denies Meddling Allegations
Russia, in turn, has repeatedly denied allegations of its meddling in other countries’ domestic affairs, stressing that they are unsubstantiated.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed late last week that the country vehemently rejects any claims about its alleged attempts to interfere in the elections of any nation, including the UK, and warned that there will be “negative” consequences for bilateral relations between Moscow and London.
“We consistently and categorically deny any possible involvement of Russia in interference in the elections of any country, including those of the UK. And we categorically reject any accusations regarding the 2019 elections in the UK”, Peskov said.
He referred to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier claiming that unnamed “Russian actors” almost certainly tried to meddle in the December 2019 UK general election.
Russian Ambassador to Britain Andrei Klein, for his part, also noted that the Kremlin never interfered in the UK political process and is instead looking for common ground to improve bilateral relations.
This was also underscored by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual news conference in Moscow in December 2019.
“As regards [Russian] interference or non-interference, we’ve heard many times from official governing bodies in various countries, including Britain, assessments of what is happening inside Russia. Is that interference? We reserve the right to behave in the same way toward you. If you think that is interference, then keep thinking that. But it has nothing at all to do with interference”, Putin emphasised.
In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, with the British government later raising concerns that Russia had played a part in influencing the outcome of the vote, but failed to provide any proof.
Prime Minister Johnson has, for his part, never publicly endorsed claims that Russia meddled in Britain’s electoral process.