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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A report by the UK-based communications agency 89up claiming that Russia's RT and Sputnik have significantly influenced the public in the UK prior to the Brexit referendum is an attempt to distract attention from professional failure of UK PR companies, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT and Sputnik, said on Tuesday.
"British PR specialists did not promote the advantages of the United Kingdom staying in the European Union enough and blamed their failure on RT and Sputnik. They cannot accept the fact that their fellow citizens can think for themselves, read something other than The Times, and vote as they like," Simonyan said.
The report, released last week, claims that RT and Sputnik published 261 media articles on the EU referendum in the United Kingdom, or with a strong anti-EU sentiment which mentioned Brexit in 2016 ahead of the vote. The social reach of these news outlets was "134 million potential impressions, in comparison with a total social reach of just 33 million and 11 million potential impressions for all content shared from the Vote Leave website and Leave.EU website respectively." The firm also alleged that the Russian media interference in the EU referendum was worth up to 4 million pounds ($5.54 million).
Twitter, Facebook and Google have been requested to find out whether any foreign interference took place during the Brexit referendum as a part of the UK Electoral Commission’s probe launched in November.
Last month, Twitter said that it did not have any evidence that would prove Russia's alleged meddling in the campaign ahead of referendum, while in December Facebook said that St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which is suspected of interfering in the 2016 US election, spent only $0.97 on the referendum-related advertisements delivered to audiences in the United Kingdom.
Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in foreign elections saying such actions run counter to the principles and conduct of Russian foreign policy.
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