Russian ambassador to UK denies interference in British politics

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The Russian Embassy in London | EPA-EFE/Will Oliver

UK parties should keep Russia out of the general election, says Andrei Kelin.

LONDON — Russia’s newly appointed ambassador to the U.K. called on political parties to keep his country out of the general election campaign and denied allegations of Russian meddling in British politics.

In an interview with Sky News, Andrew Kelin said he wants to improve relations between Russia and the U.K., which were harmed by the attempted assassination of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury last year.

“I will say that I have a certain message for the U.K: Please don’t use Russian issue, or things connected with Russia, in the internal political campaign,” he told the broadcaster. “It is much better to concentrate on real priorities in economies, in politics, in domestic healthcare and solve the problems that are really existing and are really important for this country.”

Kelin was speaking on the sidelines of an annual U.K.-Russia business forum in London.

He said Moscow had no preferred candidates in the U.K. election campaign and is “watching closely” what parties are saying.

“We have no preference in these relations and we are not at all trying to influence it, it does not make any sense. But with new administration, with new government, of course we will be doing our best to improve things but we need to see some signs of willingness to do that from the side of the U.K. government,” Kelin said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of delaying the publication of a House of Commons report into alleged Russian interference in elections in Britain.

Referring to allegations of meddling in politics in the U.S. and the U.K., Kelin said it has become “fashionable” to accuse Russia “about anything and everything.”

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