It is claimed repeatedly that the Russian President supports a Brexit vote. William Hague is at it again this morning. So it is worth publising the only words that Putin is reported to have said on the subject:
“There is a great problem with Brexit, why did he initiate this vote in the first place? Why did he do that? So he wanted to blackmail Europe or to scare someone, what was the goal if he was against?”
“Who can predict it? No one can predict it. I have my own opinion on this matter – whether it is good or bad – but I will refrain from giving the forecast. I think it would be improper on my part to do that.
“Whatever I say will be interpreted to the benefit of either side, that’s the business of the EU and the people of the UK.
“Different experts have different estimates about whether Brexit will benefit Great Britain or not, some say it will be to the detriment and some say the EU will be more stable and stronger.
“In the UK itself for example – they are going down in boats saying how hard it is to live with restrictions in fishing. Yes they have a problem, well there are some benefits in other sectors. If you have to weigh all these things it is very complicated.”
The Russian President reportedly made these remarks on Friday evening, at a time when our own media was preoccupied with the horrible killing of Jo Cox.
Whatever you think Putin’s view may be, his words offer no guidance one way or the other and, since they were largely missed, they are worth reprinting.