Hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation, after losing a referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU, Putin broke his silence on the referendum and took a swipe at Cameron. The outgoing British prime minister had previously said that a vote for Britain to exit the EU (known as a “Brexit”) would only benefit those who would prefer instability in the U.K. and in Europe such as Islamist militants and Putin.
The Russian leader waited over a month to respond, but did so in searing style, saying Russia would never intervene in Britain’s decision making and taking a shot at Cameron’s behaviour and popularity.
“The statements of the British Prime Minister Cameron prior to this vote, in which he claimed to voice the position of Russia, have no basis,” Putin said at a conference in Uzbekistan on Friday. “I think this was nothing but a wrongful attempt to influence public opinion in his country.”
“This is nothing but a display of a low degree of political etiquette,” Putin said, Russian news agency Interfax reports, candidly pointing out that even this rhetoric did not have the desired result for Cameron.
The Russian president also added that whether the decision had “more positives than negatives” only time could tell, but he believed that, as evidenced by the result, the majority of Britons did not like the EU.
“The number of binding decisions taken by the European Parliament as a percentage, is much greater than the number of binding decisions taken by the Soviet Union’s Supreme Council of the Federal Republic,” he said. “This means that the concentration of power there is very high. Some like that, some don’t…and it appears that the majority of people in great Britain don’t.”
Putin also said he did not believe the British referendum would have an impact on EU sanctions currently imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, but said Russia would “inevitably” feel the consequences of the referendum.