Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakarova has issued a very harsh statement against the New York Times article linking Russia to the Catalan protest group Tsunami Democràtic. She called it a dishonest and false article. The subtitle of the article, published last September 3, reads: “Intelligence files suggest that an aide to a Catalan separatist leader sought help from Russia in the fight to secede from Spain and a new protest group emerged immediately afterwards”. The collaborator they were referring to was Josep Lluís Alay, head of the office of President Carles Puigdemont, and the group, Tsunami Democratic .
Zakarova says the article is trying to strengthen a story about Russian interference and says it would be a crime to call the piece investigative journalism. “We decided to thoroughly check the facts, to analyze the details paragraph by paragraph, before making any political assessment. And I want to remind you that the data is obtained “from a report by the European intelligence service” to which the journalists of the New York Times had access. But we didn’t even have to do a thorough job, because the article is a clumsy fallacy”, according to the statement.
“According to the report of the intelligence service […] Josep Lluís Alay and the Russian businessman Alexander Dmitrienko met with a number of officials in office of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia, as well as with the Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Siromolotov, who is now in charge of the fight against terrorism. According to the authors’ thesis, this was the cornerstone of the entangled plot to denounce the perfidious Russians. […] There was no meeting in Moscow or any other city. Oleg Siromolotov has never met with Josep Lluís Alay in Moscow or abroad, and has not maintained or maintained contacts there. ”
In addition, Zakarova denounces that the New York Times has not asked for any confirmation or denial, which she considers to be “another proof of a planned provocation, because if the New York Times had sent us a request in advance, these ‘reliable evidence’ could not have been used.” The statement also says that Michael Schwirtz and José Bautista, the two journalists who signed the news, have put the newspaper in a delicate situation and that their names “have been inscribed in gold lettering to the global history of fake news”. “The New York Times, as well as the other outlets that have reprinted this fake news, not just should but must publish a refutation”, the statement concludes.
Just yesterday, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov already denied that Russia had any kind of collaboration with the Catalan independence process. “We categorically reject that there has been a political involvement of the Russian side in the events in Catalonia. This is nothing more than a lie. It’s false”he said. Puigdemont’s office also denounced that the New York Times article was based on a report by the Spanish Civil Guard full of “falsehoods and inconsistencies”.
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