'Russia did not meddle': Kremlin dismisses US indictments on election interference

Putin spokesman dismisses U.S. allegations of Russian election meddling.

ByABC News
February 19, 2018, 10:37 AM

—LONDON -- The Russian government has dismissed U.S. allegations of interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying it does not meddle in other countries' affairs.

The comment was the Kremlin's first response since special counsel Robert Mueller announced charges Friday against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the indictment focused on the individuals charged and that there is no proof that Russian government agencies were involved in the alleged election interference.

“The indictment focuses on Russian nationals. But according to statements coming out of Washington the accusations are against the Russian state, Kremlin and the Russian government. But there are no indications that the Russian state could be involved in this, there aren’t any and there can’t be any,” Peskov told reporters in a conference call.

“Russia did not meddle, does not have the habit of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and is not doing so now,” he said.

In January 2017, shortly after the presidential election, a report by U.S. intelligence agencies said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at undermining presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments," the report said.

Among the charges laid out on Friday are allegations that a wealthy businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef”, funded a “troll-farm” that used fake social media accounts to propagate falsehoods and promote messages supporting Donald Trump in the presidential race.

Prigozhin is known to have close relations with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2016.

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