Russia has no interest in Scottish independence, ambassador says

Russia has no interest in interfering in British politics or promoting the break-up of the UK, Moscow’s ambassador has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Speaking on the BBC Andrew Marr show, Andrey Kelin said: “Our interest in Scotland is only one: we are open for business.”

Numerous reports have suggested that Russian actors were behind a campaign of disinformation online during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, with the aim of stoking divisions.

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The latest claims have come in a book by the Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding, who said President Vladimir Putin was “a classic KGB opportunist who can sniff out weakness and tries to exploit divisions or conflicts within our own societies, including over Scottish independence.

"He's been doing quite well at corroding and undermining Western democracies from outside."

Asked on Marr if the Russian had any interest in Scottish nationalism or the break up of the UK, Mr Kelin said: “Interesting idea, frankly.

“I do not believe that Scotland will withdraw from the United Kingdom, because as I understand it, for Scotland it would be very uneasy to leave, being separate from the United Kingdom.”

Mr Kelin also denied the Russian government made any attempt to interfere in the 2019 UK election, following an allegation from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

And the ambassador said there was no attempt, as claimed by the UK Government, that Russian intelligence services were directing cyber attacks on western research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to try to steal coronavirus vaccine research.

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