MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Russia’s foreign ministry has rejected allegations by the British media that Russia planned to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange escape from the United Kingdom.

“Russian diplomats contacted neither employees of the Ecuadorian embassy in London nor Mr. Assange’s representatives in order organize his departure from the United Kingdom,” the ministry said on Friday, commenting on a publication in the Guardian, which claimed that “Russian diplomats held secret talks in London last year with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK.”

“It is worth noting that attempts to picture Ecuadorian diplomats’ meetings at the Russian embassy in the light of conspiracy theories do not stand up to criticism. The Russian embassy in London maintains a wide spectrum of contacts and organizes numerous and regular meetings with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in the United Kingdom. It is a normal diplomatic practice in any country of the world,” the ministry stressed.

Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 in a bid to escape extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. Assange dismissed the accusations as politically motivated. His worst fear is Sweden might deport him to the United States, where he would face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for publishing classified State Department documents. Since then, Assange has remained on the premises of the Ecuadoran embassy.

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