Vladimir Putin has urged Theresa May not to succumb to calls for a second referendum on Brexit. Speaking at his annual question and answer session with journalists, the Russian president questioned whether re-running a vote could be construed as democratic.
I understand the position of the Prime Minister [Theresa May], she is fighting for this Brexit. Let them decide, it’s none of our business, or otherwise they will accuse us again if anything [happens], he said.
She must implement the will of the people, expressed at a referendum, otherwise this is not a referendum at all: someone does not like it, [here we go] again and again. Is that democracy, or what?
A House of Commons committee cited evidence that Russian state broadcasters RT and Sputnik published hundreds of anti-EU articles in the run up to the referendum and that more than 150,000 Twitter accounts linked to Russia were Tweeting about the issue in the days before the vote.
Putin won his latest term in power with 76.69% of the vote in March following an election which the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said lacked real choice.
Theresa May has ruled out a second referendum on Brexit, although some MPs in her own party have said they would support it amid widespread dissatisfaction with the deal she has been offered from Brussels to leave the EU, particularly if Parliament remains gridlocked on the issue.