"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.
"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.
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.
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".