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Claims Alleging Assange’s Moscow Links 'Insinuations' - Russian Embassy in UK

© REUTERS / Hannah McKay / Banners in support of arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are seen on the pavement in front of Westminster Magistrates Court in London
Banners in support of arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are seen on the pavement in front of Westminster Magistrates Court in London - Sputnik International
LONDON (Sputnik) – A press secretary of the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom characterized on Friday media reports about alleged links between founder of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website Julian Assange and Russia as insinuations.

"UK media issued many reports on yesterday's arrest of Assange. Some articles even called the WikiLeaks founder a ‘puppet of the Kremlin’. We are not surprised at such statements. The UK media often try to find Russian involvement in all possible issues. Such insinuations around the case of Assange had already taken place earlier, when for example Russia was suspected of having some plans to take the Australian citizen [Assange] out of the United Kingdom. However, that was forgotten soon", the press secretary told reporters.

He noted that accusations against Russia of meddling in the UK affairs were one of the UK media tools meant to manipulate public opinion.

READ MORE: Assange Prosecution Could Destroy Century-Old US Espionage Act — Intel Analysts

"I would like to point out that WikiLeaks was initially promoted by The Guardian newspaper. One can hardly accuse it of having links to Russia", the diplomat stressed.

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The press secretary added that Russia would closely follow the situation around Assange: whether his rights would be respected as well as whether his arrest was in line with the principle of the freedom of information and journalism.

On Thursday, Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Quito withdrew political asylum granted to him. The WikiLeaks founder, who has become famous for leaking classified US government data, now faces the threat of extradition to the United States on charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and could get up to five years in jail.

READ MORE: What Book Was Handcuffed Assange Holding During His Embassy Extraction?

Following the arrest of Assange, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said that the "hand of ‘democracy' is squeezing the throat of freedom". Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed a hope that the rights of Assange would be respected after his arrest while Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy described the arrest of Assange as "a blow to media freedom".

READ MORE: Kremlin on Assange's Arrest: Non-Compliant With Principles of Media Freedom

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