Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

'Illegal' Putin condemns Catalonia referendum and will continue to treat Spain as one

The Kremlin has said no matter what the outcome of Sunday’s vote, which could split Spain in two, Russia will still treat the European country as one entity.

Under the Spanish constitution the referendum has been deemed invalid, yet the Catalan government is pressing ahead with the referendum, despite its leader being threatened with imprisonment.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, today spoke out against the referendum.

She said: “We believe that the situation in Catalonia is an internal Spanish affair.

“We are certain the events in Catalonia should proceed strictly in compliance with the existing Spanish legislation.

“We interpret the Catalonian authorities’ so-called independence referendum scheduled for October 1, just as other unilateral initiatives by local legislators, in the context of the decisions on the issue by the Constitutional Court of Spain.

“In our relations with Spain we proceed from the unconditional principle of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.”

The condemnation from Vladimir Putin’s government is one of the strongest from outside Spain.

Britain has said Catalan independence is a matter for the Spanish government and its people but refused to expand on how it would treat Spain if Catalonia voted for independence.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman, told Express.co.uk: “The UK strongly supports the rule of law and remains clear that questions related to the issue of Catalan independence are a matter for the Government and people of Spain, and should be resolved within the proper constitutional and legal channels.”

The Catalan government has promised a declaration of independence within 48 hours if the majority of people vote yes on Sunday.

A declaration would mean Spain suffers its most serious constitutional crisis in more than 30 years after democracy was restored following decades of dictatorship.

Spanish authorities have threatened referendum organisers with arrest and have ordered police to patrol polling stations in a bid to stop the vote. 

Enric Millo, the Spanish government’s representative in Barcelona, said he would “keep hoping until the last minute that the Catalan government has a change of heart and calls off the referendum”.

Last week Spain’s state police raided Catalan government offices, arrested senior officials and seized ballot boxes, papers and other electoral material.

Spanish prosecutors also threatened independence campaigners with sedition charges.

Despite this, the Catalan government has promised to go ahead with the independence referendum it says is binding.

Daily Express :: World Feed

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