Kremlin hopes for good UK-Russia relations after Brexit
The Kremlin on Friday hoped that Britain's decision to exit the European Union would not damage ties with Russia, insisting that a strong and predictable European Union is in Moscow's best interests.
President Vladimir Putin has yet to comment on the result of the referendum, but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he hoped the decision to leave the EU would not hurt Britain’s bilateral ties with Russia.
“We have a very complicated history… in bilateral relations, we can’t always say that our British partners are ready to communicate and cooperate,” Peskov told journalists.
“We hope that in the new reality, the understanding of a necessity to build good relations with our country will prevail.”
Britain’s relations with Russia have soured in recent years notably by the case of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko who was murdered by polonium poisoning in London.
Many observers have said that Brexit would play into the hands of Putin who has been accused of driving a wedge between EU members.
Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the vote had “shown there are serious contradictions in the European Union.”
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that a European Union without Britain would be less likely to maintain economic sanctions against Russia.
“Without Britain, nobody will keep fighting so hard for EU sanctions against us,” he wrote on Twitter.
Peskov however made no indication that Moscow is pleased with the result of the vote.
“The topic of Brexit is Britain’s domestic issue and an issue of its relations with the EU,” he said.
“The EU is a very important trade, economic and investment partner of Russia, and Moscow is of course interested in the EU staying a big economic power, one that is flourishing, stable and predictable.”
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meanwhile said Brexit’s impact on markets has created “additional risks for the world economy, and therefore, for our economy.”