MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Russia hopes that Spain will manage to overcome a crisis in connection with Sunday’s referendum on independence of Catalonia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
Russia and Spain share respect and liking for each other, the diplomat said. "All preconditions exist to see Russian-Spanish cooperation advance on different trajectories despite the political situation," she added.
"Together with the whole world, the Russian Foreign Ministry is following the situation around the Catalan independence referendum," she said. "I must say that we worry a lot about Spain, but this is the internal matter of the Kingdom of Spain," she added. "We hope that Spain will manage to overcome the crisis," the diplomat added.
On Sunday, Catalonia held a referendum on secession from Spain. A total of 90% of voters, or slightly more than 2 million people, said "yes" to Catalonia’s independence. The plebiscite was held under a tense atmosphere as national police and the civil guard undertook efforts to stop the voting, seizing ballot boxes and papers, as ruled by a Spanish court.
Madrid says the vote is illegal, while Barcelona declared already ahead of the vote that the plebiscite will have legitimate weight for the authorities.
The Catalan authorities planned to open about 2,300 polling stations, of which about 300 were closed by law enforcement officials, sparking clashes with the voters. Spanish cops reportedly used rubber bullets and tear gas. According to the Catalan authorities, as many as 844 people were hurt in clashes with police. The Spanish interior ministry, in turn, said that 13 law enforcement officials had been hurt in clashes.