Pussy Riot member: Assange ‘openly works with’ Russia
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A member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange directly collaborates with Moscow.

“But Julian Assange, he openly works with [Russia],” Nadya Tolokno told The Daily Beast in an interview Thursday. "It’s not a secret. He’s connected with the Russian government, and I feel that he’s proud of it.

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“I generally support the work that WikiLeaks is doing, but I’m not that thrilled about his decisions that are unethical, in my view, concerning his connections to the Russian government.”

Tolokno said she visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London two years ago, saying their meeting convinced her WikiLeaks has ties to the Kremlin.

“He couldn’t deny it,” said Tolokno, whose full name is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. "He often works with the Russian propaganda machine, and he doesn’t try to hide it.

“Julian Assange doesn’t try to hide that fact because he hosts at the Ecuadorian Embassy the editor-in-chief of the Russian propaganda team, Russia Today, and he has projects with them,” she added.

Tolokno added she confronted Assange about advancing Russian interests ahead of America’s.

“I understood his position: He’s in a state of war with the American government,” she said. "He’s smart and charismatic and will use any means to destroy the American government.

“And we had a conversation if it was really the ethical thing to do that with the hands of another government [Russia] which is, in fact, much worse and a real authoritarian government.”

Assange has lived at the embassy since 2012 to avoid a rape charge in Sweden that he says is trumped up and intended to get him extradited to the U.S.

WikiLeaks has this year repeatedly published emails allegedly stolen from Democratic officials, including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The Russian government is widely believed to be behind the hacks, and observers say their release is a deliberate attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE has repeatedly used revelations from WikiLeaks to attack Clinton and her campaign.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied his government has any role in America’s electoral process.