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Hammond admits his remarks on Russia's benefit from Brexit were based on speculations

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted on Thursday that his statements that Russia could benefit from Brexit made ahead of the June 23 referendum were based solely on speculations.

"I was merely speculating about what the logical view from Moscow on British exit from the European Union would be," he said speaking at the Foreign Affairs Committee.

"What I heard from Moscow was a protestation of no interference that I completely accept, I don't think that anyone suggested that Moscow was directly involved in the referendum campaign or seeking a role in it," Hammond said.

"Unfortunately, I have no corroborating evidences from Moscow, but I would be astonished if the view from Moscow did not see a European Union without Britain as a member as likely to be a less robust adversary of Russia," he added.

Hammond as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested before the UK referendum on EU membership that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will be happy" if the opponents of the European integration win. According to Hammond, the Russian authorities were to be optimistic about Brexit, since it offers the prospects of easing the sanctions.

The Russian president described the British politicians' statements on the issue as an inappropriate attempt to influence public opinion and a manifestation of the low level of political culture.

The UK held a referendum on EU membership on June 23, with 51.9% of Britons voting to leave the European Union.

[Source: Itar Tass, London, 07Jul16]

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