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US elections

Russia says US intelligence claims on Putin meddling in election ‘baseless’

Published: Updated:

Russia on Wednesday described US intelligence allegations that President Vladimir Putin had likely directed efforts to try to swing the 2020 US presidential election to Donald Trump as baseless.

A 15-page American intelligence report, released on Tuesday, added heft to longstanding allegations that some of Trump’s top lieutenants were playing into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims made against then-candidate Joe Biden by Russian-linked Ukrainian figures in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election.

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Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week because of the allegations, three sources said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. Those sanctions could also address the cyber hack blamed on Russia that used US company SolarWinds Corp to penetrate US government networks.

Russia has denied any involvement in that hack.

The United States imposed sanctions on four senior Russian officials earlier this month over Moscow’s treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, something Moscow cast as unacceptable meddling in its domestic affairs.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a hearing in Moscow, Russia Feb. 20, 2021. (Reuters)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a hearing in Moscow, Russia Feb. 20, 2021. (Reuters)

Russia’s US embassy in Washington on Wednesday accused the United States of seeking to besmirch Russia’s image and of blaming others for its own problems.

“We state that Washington continues to practice ‘megaphone diplomacy, with the main goal to maintain a negative image of Russia. To blame external players for destabilizing the situation inside the country,” the embassy said in the same statement.

“This attitude of the administration hardly corresponds to our proposed equal and mutually respectful expert dialogue in search of solutions to the most pressing issues. Washington’s actions do not lead to the normalization of bilateral relations.”

Read more:

Iran, Hezbollah, Russia tried to sway Biden-Trump election: Intelligence report

White House says US will respond to Russia’s Solar Winds hack ‘in weeks, not months’