Kremlin says US report on election interference 'groundless'

Telegram från AFP / Omni
17 March 2021, 13.04

The Kremlin on Wednesday dismissed as "absolutely groundless" a US report saying that Russia targeted election infrastructure during the 2020 polls.

"We consider this report to be wrong, it is absolutely groundless and unsubstantiated," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the Kremlin "regrets" the decision to publish such materials and called it an "excuse" to consider new sanctions on Moscow.

His words were echoed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who also called the conclusions of the US report "groundless".

He told state news agency RIA Novosti that "hostile steps towards Russia" have become "the norm of life" in Washington.

The US intelligence report published on Tuesday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials "were aware of and probably directed" Russia's influence operation to sway the vote in Donald Trump's favour.

It, however, concluded that the election results were not compromised.

Russia in 2016 faced allegation of US election meddling for launching a social media campaign to boost Trump's candidacy and discredit his opponent Hilary Clinton.

After Joe Biden's victory over Trump in 2020, Putin was among the last world leaders to congratulate the newly elected president.

Tensions between the former Cold War rivals have soared in recent months over hacking allegations and Washington's demands to free jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Earlier in March, the US announced fresh sanctions over Navalny, who was jailed last month on returning from Germany where he was recovering from exposure to a nerve agent.

It added to the series of penalities already imposed on Moscow since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

mp-acl/as/lc