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Iran Press TV

Russia rejects Catalonia's cyber-meddling claims as 'hysteria'

Iran Press TV

Wed Nov 15, 2017 03:33PM

Russia has dismissed claims by Spanish authorities that Moscow interfered through its cyber campaign in a political standoff in Catalonia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that the allegations by Madrid were part of a broader campaign in the West that sought to create "hysteria" about Russia's alleged intervention in Western democracies.

"We consider these claims to be groundless and more likely a deliberate or inadvertent continuation of the same hysteria that is now happening in the United States and a number of other countries," Peskov said, adding, "The Spanish authorities, NATO and the newspapers did not bring up a single worthwhile argument to back these claims."

Spanish authorities have been the latest to accuse Russia of using its propaganda and hacking power in the cyberspace to influence the political situation in other countries. Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said on November 13 that a "disinformation and manipulation" campaign had come from Russia to encourage the independence drive in Catalonia since a referendum was held in the region in early October. Dastis would not elaborate whether the Russian government was involved.

"I will raise the question of how disinformation and manipulation around the referendum and subsequent events in Catalonia have developed," Dastis said.

Spain's Defense Minister Dolores de Cospedal has also repeated same claims, saying a lot of the messaging on social media around the Catalan crisis, which culminated in a crackdown in late October by Madrid, had come from Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also lambasted the Spanish authorities, saying the allegations were engineered to allay concerns about Spain's inability to contain the crisis in Catalonia.

"Probably they are arranging this kind of scandalous, sensational hysteria in order to distract the attention of their electorate from their inability to resolve their problems at home," Lavrov said Wednesday while addressing reporters in Moscow.

Russia is accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election in the US. The issue has badly strained ties between the two countries while sparking retaliatory moves by both sides.

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