Russia attempted to influence Scottish independence vote – reports

An investigation has found that Russia attempted to influence the Scottish independence referendum but not the Brexit vote, according to reports.

A long-awaited probe into alleged Russian interference in British democracy, due to be published on Tuesday, found "credible open-source commentary that Russia undertook to influence the campaign on Scottish independence" in 2014, the Telegraph reported.

The paper said the report by MPs and peers described the Kremlin's role in the vote that could have split the UK as "the first post-Soviet interference in a Western democratic election".

But after an 18-month investigation, Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) found nothing to suggest Russia played any part in the 2016 European Union poll, said the newspaper.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, talk to each other during their meeting on the sideline of a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the one-day conference of world powers on Sunday seeking to curb foreign military interference, solidify a cease-fire and help relaunch a political process to stop the chaos in the North African nation. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, third left, and Mike Pompeo, fourth right, Foreign Minister of the USA, attend a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/DPA via AP, Pool)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 19: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (2L) are pictured before the beginning of the meeting at the Chancellery on January 19, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Leaders of nations and organizations linked to the current conflict are meeting to discuss measures towards reaching a consensus between the warring sides and ending hostilities. (Photo by Emmanuele Contini/Getty Images)
19 January 2020, Berlin: The family photo shows (front, l-r) Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Congo, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, Behind him (2nd prize) is a photo of the family. Ahmed Aboulgheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, Moussa Faki, Chairman of the African Union, Charles Michel President of the European Council, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), Mike Pompeo, US Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, Director of Foreign Affairs in the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, met in the Federal Chancellery at the beginning of the Libya Conference for a family photo. The aim of the conference is a lasting ceasefire in the civil war country. Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa (Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson holds media availability during the G7 Foreign Minister meeting in Toronto, Ontario on April 23, 2018. - The Group of Seven industrialized nations presented a stern common front against Russian aggression April 22, 2018 at their foreign ministers conference in Toronto.But for all the talk of resisting the "malign activities" of Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, Washington's European partners are still concerned that President Donald Trump will tear up the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo credit should read LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron during their meeting at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo during their meeting at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, reads his notes as Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller stands next waiting for British Prime Minister David Cameron before the talks at the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin leads a cabinet meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 16, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Police officers detain a protester during a rally to cancel the results of voting on amendments to the Constitution in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Earlier this month a group of opposition activists called for a protest against the constitutional reform that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Police officers detain a protester during a rally to cancel the results of voting on amendments to the Constitution in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Earlier this month a group of opposition activists called for a protest against the constitutional reform that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to workers at the Zaliv shipyard in Kerch, Crimea, Monday, July 20, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Police officers block the road during a rally to cancel the results of voting on amendments to the Constitution in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Earlier this month a group of opposition activists called for a protest against the constitutional reform that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
British Prime minister Tony Blair watches as the Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves Downing Street after their meeting today Wednesday 5th October 2005. See PA Story DEFENCE Putin. Press Association Photo. Photo credit should read Stephan Rousseau/PA
Princess Michael of Kent chats with Russian President Putin at the Guildhall in London where he and Mrs Putina attended a banquet given by the Lord Mayor Of London.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron (centre) is joined by (left to right) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, along with other G8 leaders for the second Plenary Session of the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
St.Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak (right) and his assistant Vladimir Putin (left) attend a meeting of the St.Petersburg city legislature. Year 1993. Russia, St. Petersburg. Photo credit: Mikhail Razuvaev/Kommersant/Sipa USA
KRT WORLD NEWS STORY SLUGGED: RUSSIA-ELECTION KRT PHOTO BY YURI GRIPAS/KRT (KRT1) MOSCOW, RUSSIA March 26 -- Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, talk with journalists before voting at the polling station in downtown Moscow, March 26th. (Photo by KRT) AP PL KD BL 2000 (Horiz) (mvw) (Additional photos available on KRT Direct, KRT/PressLink or upon request)
Russia`s newly-elected president Vladimir Putin sits down for talks at 10, Downing Street, London, with Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister. Putin is on a brief visit to Britain and is to meet the Queen and government officials. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, right, and Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin, left, listen to British chef Gordon Ramsay, who cooked lunch, at 10 Downing Street, in London. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II receives the President-elect of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, at Windsor Castle, during his first official engagement in London at the start of his visit to the UK. * 24/06/03 Queen Elizabeth II and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, at Windsor Castle, as President Putin was arriving in Britain for the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the tsars. The former KGB secret service officer was staying at Buckingham Palace as the personal guest of the Queen, following a ceremonial welcome full of pomp and ceremony on London's Horse Guards Parade. (Photo by Fiona Hanson - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin lays a wreath at the Soviet war memorial in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum, in London. Putin is in London for a one day visit, where he will have talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair (right) meets Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) at the Kremlin. Mr Blair's visit to Russia and meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin is part of the coalition building process. * to identify those responsible for the attacks on the U.S. on September 11th. Blair and Putin are expected to discuss the evidence paper on prime suspect Osama bin Laden as well as the humanitarian efforts to be undertaken to help refugees. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
KRT US NEWS STORY SLUGGED: US-RUSSIA KRT PHOTO BY GEORGE BRIDGES/KRT (November 13) WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President George W. Bush hold a news conference Tuesday, November 13, 2001. (Photo by KRT) NC KD BL 2001 (Horiz) (gsb)
The wife of Britain's Prime Minister Cherie Blair speaks with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin on the steps of Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence near Wendover England. * ....The Russian President had arrived for a two day visit for talks.
Cherie Blair, left, with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila as they chat with Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair on the steps of Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. * .... near Wendover England. The Russian President had arrived for a two day visit for talks.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) is welcomed by the Prince of Wales at Heathrow Airport, London, at the start of their state visit. It is the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the Tsars.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive at Buckingham Palace, London, on the first day of his state visit. It is the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the Tsars.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive at Buckingham Palace, London, on the first day of his state visit. It is the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the Tsars.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) inspects the guard at Horse Guards Parade, London, on the first day of his state visit. It is the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the Tsars.
Queen Elizabeth II laughs with Prime Minister Tony Blair (3rd right) as she and Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) arrive at Horse Guards Parade, London, on the first day of his state visit. * It is the first state visit by a Russian leader since the days of the Tsars.
Queen Elizabeth II (right) and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh (left) stand alongside Russias President Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, before a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. * Earlier, Mr Putin, who is on the first state visit by a Russian leader since 1874 when Tsar Alexander II came to Britain, had been delayed by 15 minutes aftes his motorcade was delayed by heavy traffic as it travelled from London s Heathrow Airport to Horse Guards Parade for the official welcoming ceremony.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila (centre) are greeted by The Lord Mayor of London Gavyn Arthur and the Lady Mayoress Carole Blackshaw (left) and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent (right) on their arrival for the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall.
A Yeoman of the Guard, Tom Sharp, (left) looks on as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila pass by during their visit to the Tower of London. * The Russian leader toured the historic attraction with his wife but did not have to queue to see the exhibits.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sits with the wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cherie, in Downing Street, London, during his official state visit to Britain.
--NO MAGS, NO SALES--KRT WORLD NEWS STORY SLUGGED: SUMMIT KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY SUNNY SUNG/ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION (June 8) SEA ISLAND, GA -- President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin look on as First Lady Laura Bush greets Lyudmila Putin at McGuirk House on Sea Island, Georgia, on Tuesday, June 8, 2004. (Photo by mvw) 2004
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his dog Koni at his private dacha outside Moscow.
European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso (back row, from left) stands alongside other leaders of G8 countries; Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Gerhard Schroder of Germany, Junichiro Koizumi of Japan, Paul Martin of Canada, (front row, from left) George W Bush of USA, The Duke of Edinburgh, Jacques Chirac of France, Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Blair of UK and Vladimir Putin of Russia, at Gleneagles, Scotland.
G8 leaders (left to right): Angela Merkel (Germany), Tony Blair (UK), Jacques Chirac (France), and Vladimir Putin (Russia) pose for a family photo at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
With former President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush looking on, Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds up his catch Monday, July 2, 2007, with the help of fishing guide Billy Bush, during a morning outing at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. (Photo by Eric Draper/The White House/MCT/Sipa USA)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin leaves after speaking at a Russia 2018 press conference at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, during a visit to the Moscow Sports and Recreation Complex, took part in a joint training of teams on wrestling, judo and sambo. December 22, 2010. Russia, St. Petersburg. Photo credit: Vasily Shaposhnikov/Kommersant/Sipa USA
Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin (front left) at The White House in Moscow, Russia.
Prime Minister David Cameron greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on the steps of 10 Downing Street in London, ahead of talks.
Police officers detain a protester during a rally to cancel the results of voting on amendments to the Constitution in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Earlier this month a group of opposition activists called for a protest against the constitutional reform that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Pyotr Fradkov, head of the Promsvyazbank bank speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, back to a camera, during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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The full document is set to be published following months of delays, days after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab claimed it was "almost certain" that Moscow had tried to interfere in the 2019 election.

The ISC report, prepared by the committee's members in the previous Parliament, was postponed by Boris Johnson's decision to call a general election and the need to re-establish the committee's membership.

Mr Raab said last week that "Russian actors" had tried to influence the 2019 contest by "amplifying" stolen Government papers online.

The documents, relating to US-UK trade talks, were picked up by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who said they were evidence the Conservatives were preparing to open up the NHS to US pharmaceutical companies.

Relations between the UK and Russia have been under severe strain since the Salisbury Novichok poisoning in 2018, which left former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in hospital and led to the death of Dawn Sturgess.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The incident resulted in Russian diplomats being expelled from Britain by then prime minister Theresa May.

Mr Raab also announced this month, in a move that irked President Vladimir Putin's administration, that he was imposing sanctions on 25 Russian nationals linked to the death in custody of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in 2009 after exposing massive corruption in the Interior Ministry.

The ISC's alleged findings of interference in British democracy come after the UK, US and Canada claimed that Russian intelligence-linked hackers tried to steal details of research into coronavirus vaccines.

Russia's ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin dismissed the accusations in a BBC interview.

He said his country had no interest in interfering in British domestic politics.

"We do not interfere at all," he said.

"We do not see any point in interference because for us, whether it will be (the) Conservative Party or Labour's party at the head of this country, we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now."

Asked about the alleged attempts to steal details of coronavirus research, Mr Kelin said: "I don't believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it."

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