Putin says Cameron’s claims about Russia’s pro-Brexit stance ‘have no basis and never did’
Elsa Vulliamy, Independent, Jun 26 2016
Putin has contested Cameron’s claim that he supports the UK’s exit from the EU, saying the latter’s statements were a ploy to influence the public vote. Speaking at the World Economic Forum prior to the referendum, Cameron said:
It is worth asking the question: who would be happy if we left? Putin might be happy. I suspect al-Baghdadi would be happy. But our friends around the world are giving us a very clear message: it’s all up to you, it is your sovereign choice … but we’d like you to stay. We think it’s good for us and it’s good for you.
But Putin dismissed the claims, saying:
Statements by the UK Prime Minister Mr Cameron, before this plebiscite where he stated Russia’s position, have no basis and never did. I believe that this is nothing more than a flawed attempt to influence the public opinion in his own country. As we can see, even this did not bring the right result for those who did it … after the vote, no one has the right to make statements about some position of Russia. This is nothing more than a demonstration of the low level of political culture.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Uzbekistan, Putin also said the outcome of the EU referendum reflected Britain’s concerns over migration and security, as well as a dissatisfaction with EU bureaucracy. The week before the vote, the Russian president said that Cameron had initiated the referendum in order to blackmail the rest of Europe, or as a scare tactic. Speaking in St Petersberg, he said:
There is a great problem with Brexit: why did he initiate this vote in the first place? Why did he do that? What was the goal, if he was against? Maybe he wanted to blackmail Europe, to scare someone.
He added that Brexit was “none of our business,” and that he did not have his own opinion on the matter.