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Russia’s Putin warns of lasting fallout from UK move to leave EU

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People leave a polling station in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on June 23, 2016, during a UK referendum to vote on whether to remain in, or to leave the European Union. ©AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of lasting fallout from Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

"It is clear that the traumatic effect from the results of the referendum will be felt for quite a long time," Putin told Russian diplomats in Moscow on Thursday.

The Russian leader described Brexit as the choice of the British people, noting that Moscow has not in any way influenced the vote.

"I would like to stress yet again that the so-called Brexit is the choice of the British people, we did not interfere with this process and are not tampering with it in anyway," he said.

The Kremlin strongman, however, said that his country "will closely follow how far the negotiations between London and Brussels go and what the consequences will be for all of Europe and for us."

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives in foreign countries held at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on June 30, 2016. ©AFP

In a referendum held on June 23, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave the bloc, as just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.

The referendum has sent economic and political shockwaves across the globe.

Putin had said one day after the referendum that the vote to leave the EU may be the result of “arrogance and a superficial approach to vital questions” shown by UK leaders toward difficulties in their own country and in the EU.  

He told reporters at the end of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan on June 24 that Russia will adjust its economic and foreign policies toward the EU as needed after the decision, but noted that it was unlikely that the UK’s departure will affect European sanctions against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. 

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