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.
Bloomberg spread anti-Catalan "Russia jacketing" propaganda from Spanish quasi-state outfit Elcano without basic diligence. UK, France & Germany do NOT claim interference. US, UK, etc media also see 2000+% increase in pro-Catalan coverage. Obvious stuff.https://t.co/nA0yoks8Hb pic.twitter.com/w5zAe1QqiS— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) 9 ноября 2017 г.
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.
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.