Russian Embassy Refutes Colombian Minister Remarks About Moscow Role in Inciting Violence

 The Russian Embassy to Colombia has expressed bemusement over the remarks of Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano Aponte, who accused Russia of cyberattacks and inciting violence in the Latin American nation via social networks.

“The Russian Embassy expresses deep bewilderment at the statements of the Colombian defense minister, Mr. Diego Molano, made on May 17 in an interview with one of the main Spanish media, El Mundo. In particular, the high-ranking Colombian official, answering the question of whether there was foreign interference via social networks aimed at inciting violence, said, we quote, ‘there were cyberattacks that came, in particular, from Russia,'” the embassy wrote on its Twitter page on late Friday.

According to the Russian diplomatic mission, the defense minister made similar statements in an interview with the Colombian newspaper Tiempo.

“We strongly reject these claims. Such serious accusations against our country, which we consider completely unfounded and not supported by specific evidence, in no way contribute to the development of traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Colombia,” the embassy noted.The Russian diplomatic mission has also expressed condolences over the reported fatalities during the protests in Colombia.

The nationwide demonstrations started in Colombia on April 28 in protest of tax reform. Although the reform bill was later withdrawn, the protests continue. Labor and student organizations demand social and healthcare reforms, demilitarization of cities, and dissolution of Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron forces.

Since April, according to the Defense Ministry, more than 1,900 people have been injured in clashes between security forces and protesters. The authorities have confirmed the deaths of 15 people, while human rights activists say more than 50 have been killed in the protests.