THE First Minister was asked for her response to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Russia report during today’s Scottish Government Covid-19 briefing.

Nicola Sturgeon said she would “limit” what she said as the briefings exist to update the Scottish public on the coronavirus threat and ministers’ response to the crisis, but gave viewers a general overview of her thoughts on the report’s findings.

The report found the UK Government “actively avoided” looking for evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and added “credible open source commentary” suggested Russia undertook “influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014”.

READ MORE: UK Government 'actively avoided' investigating Russia's role in Brexit vote

As the First Minister took questions at today’s Covid-19 briefing, a journalist asked whether she was concerned about the findings in relation to both the 2014 and 2016 votes.

Sturgeon told the reporter: “Deborah this is a Covid briefing, I think that’s been made pretty clear. So I’m going to limit what I say on other issues because it’s really important that people have the opportunity to watch these briefings and hear a focus on Covid issues.”

She added that she would provide a more detailed response to the investigation later.

Sturgeon went on: “As you can probably gather from my Covid remarks so far I’ve been pretty pre-occupied with all matters virus this morning. I’ve had an initial read-through of the ISC report, I will read it in more detail when I get the opportunity later on.

READ MORE: Russia report: What it says about Scotland's independence referendum

“I would say firstly that we should not be at any point complacent about the possibility of Russian interference in our democratic processes. Secondly I don’t think you can really draw any conclusions from the three lines or thereabouts that the report has on the Scottish independence referendum but I would include that in my general remarks about not being complacent about Russian interference.

“Although I would say that the Scottish independence movement and the kind of values I and my party stand for, I don’t think could be further removed from the kind of values that Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime stand for.”

On the Brexit referendum point, she said “the main message out of an initial reading of this report would be what I think could possibly be described as negligence on the part of the UK Government in the face of potential Russian interference”.

The SNP leader added that she hopes the report leads to a “much more rigorous approach and to the UK Government taking these threats to our democratic processes much more seriously than they appear to have been doing so far”.

She then told the journalist: “But if you don’t mind I will conclude my remarks there and get back to issues Covid.”

Speaking about the report following its publication this morning, committee member and SNP MP Stewart Hosie sad: “The UK Government should have recognised the threat back in 2014, in relation to the Scottish referendum, but it didn't understand the threat until after the hack and leak operation against the Democratic National Committee in the United States.

“And because it was too slow to recognise the threat, it didn't take action to protect the UK in 2016. One would have thought that once the existence of a threat had been understood, seeing what had happened in the US, that someone here would have wanted to understand the extent and nature of the threat to the UK.”

Downing Street reacted to the report’s publication by saying they had seen “no evidence of successful interference in the EU referendum and a probe was therefore “not necessary”.