Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected allegations that his government had backed the Catalan independence movement last year, reported Efe. He added that people of Catalonia had a right to self-determination, “but at the same time we believe in respecting and conserving the sovereignty of states”.

Putin said he was all for Spanish integrity. “We have good and fruitful relations with Spain that we want to maintain, and we also want the situation in Spain to normalise and for Spain to conserve its territorial integrity,” the Russian president told reporters on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Earlier this week, a Spanish intelligence outfit accused Russian institutions of influencing the Catalan independence bid, according to Sputnik International. Moscow has denied such claims, adding that the allegations of cyber attacks were baseless. “They always say this about Russia,” said Putin. “This was said with regard to Brexit, and we’re accused of everything bad. But these are internal processes in each country that we have absolutely nothing to do with.”

In October, the Parliament of Catalonia voted to begin the process to split from Spain. The movement for Catalonia’s independence from Spain led to massive protests and resulted in the country’s worst political crisis in decades.