Russia has no interest in the Scottish independence debate, according to the country’s president Vladimir Putin.
He distanced himself one week after reports suggested the UK Government was seeking Russia as an ally to stop Scotland leaving the union in a referendum this September.
The claim was dismissed as ridiculous by Downing Street at the time.
Mr Putin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s not a matter for Russia, it’s a domestic issue for the United Kingdom.”
People have the right to self-determination, he said.
“But I believe one should not forget that being part of a single, strong state has some advantages and one should not overlook this,” he continued.
“It’s a choice for each and every people according to their own circumstances.”
Asked if an independent Scotland could join a customs union with Russia, he said: “I wouldn’t rule that out”.
Russian state news agency Itar-Tass had last week reported an anonymous source in David Cameron’s office saying that Britain were seeking support from Russia on the Scottish independence debate and pulling troops out of Afghanistan. These claims were reported by the Sunday Herald.
The original report, issued on Hogmanay, said: “Great Britain is extremely interested in the support of Russia, as holder of the G8 presidency, in two vital areas in 2014: the Afghan pull-out and the Scottish independence referendum.”