Ivan Volodin, at the Russian embassy in London, responds to a Guardian article reporting that Russian diplomats held secret talks about helping Julian Assange flee the UK
Your article (Revealed: Russia’s Christmas Eve plot to smuggle Assange out of UK, 22 September) claiming that Russian diplomats held secret talks to assess whether they could help Julian Assange flee the UK has nothing to do with the reality. The embassy has never engaged with Ecuadorean colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions on any kind of Russian participation in ending Mr Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador. As regards the idea that “the Kremlin was willing to offer support” to a secret plan by “allowing Assange to travel to Russia”, we are puzzled by the sensational attitude of the authors. Russia is always happy to welcome international guests if they arrive in a lawful manner and with good intentions.
As recently as 18 September, the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, speaking at the Royal Television Society, called for increased efforts to combat media and online disinformation. Your article is a brilliant example of the kind of journalism that the British reader should be protected from.
Chargé d’affaires ad interim, Russian embassy in London