12:35 GMT20 September 2020
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    Assange has commented on the alleged Russian meddling in Catalonia's independence referendum amid the ongoing crisis in the region.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has stated that the Bloomberg news agency had published an unverified propaganda story concerning Catalonia, claiming that Russia allegedly influenced the region's residents during the independence referendum.

    Assange was apparently referring to a report that cited an analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute saying that "unidentified Russians" had been allegedly posting both true and false messages on social networks during the referendum on October 1. These efforts were reportedly backed by Moscow-supported television, a claim that hasn't yet been commented on by the Russian authorities.

    Accusations against Russia's alleged influence on Catalonia's independence referendum comes amid the probe into the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election that has prompted several European countries, including Britain, France and Germany, to also speculate about Russia "meddling" in their election processes, a claim strongly refuted by the authorities as groundless.

    Responding to these accusations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called the claims ridiculous, emphasizing that there was no proof that Russia was involved in the election processes of the United States, Germany, France, or the United Kingdom.

    Catalan Referendum

    The independence referendum in Catalonia that took place on October 1, is considered illegal by Madrid. On October 27, the Spanish Senate approved the introduction of direct rule in Catalonia, shortly after the regional parliament passed the declaration of independence. A number of former Catalan lawmakers and ministers are facing lawsuits brought by the central government.

    Numerous rallies are being held in the region, protesting the decisions by the central government. 


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