Putin re­jects claims of in­ter­fer­ence in US elec­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

MOSCOW (AP): PRES­I­DENT VLADIMIR Putin yes­ter­day dis­missed claims that Rus­sia is in­ter­fer­ing in the United States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, say­ing the al­le­ga­tions are de­signed to dis­tract the public from real is­sues.

The United States has ac­cused Rus­sia of co­or­di­nat­ing the hacks of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign emails to in­flu­ence the out­come of the elec­tion.

Speak­ing to in­ter­na­tional for­eign pol­icy ex­perts in Sochi, Putin dis­missed “the hys­te­ria about Rus­sia’s in­flu­ence on the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

He ar­gued that US elites have used the “fic­ti­tious and myth­i­cal” is­sue to dis­tract at­ten­tion from real prob­lems such as gov­ern­ment debt and po­lice vi­o­lence.

CAM­PAIGN TOOL

“Does any­one se­ri­ously think Rus­sia can some­how in­flu­ence the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s choice?” Putin said. “Is Amer­ica some kind of ba­nana repub­lic? Amer­ica is a great power!” He called the claim that Rus­sia favours Don­ald Trump in the race as “sheer non­sense” that has served as a cam­paign tool. Putin added that it is not clear what stance the next US pres­i­dent will take to­wards Rus­sia, but added that Moscow wel­comes cam­paign state­ments about nor­mal­is­ing ties.

“We will work with any pres­i­dent who will be elected by the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” he said.

Putin also as­serted that the rise of pop­u­lar­ity of na­tion­al­ist par­ties in Europe was rooted in a widen­ing gap be­tween elites and the reg­u­lar ci­ti­zens, not the in­flu­ence of Rus­sian pro­pa­ganda as many in the West have sug­gested.

“I would like to have such pro­pa­ganda ma­chine in Rus­sia, but, re­gret­tably, there is no such thing,” Putin said with a note of sar­casm. “We don’t have such global me­dia as CNN, BBC and others.”

He also shrugged off al­le­ga­tions that Rus­sia har­bours ag­gres­sive mil­i­tary in­ten­tions in Europe.

“Of course, it’s quite pleas­ant and some­times ad­van­ta­geous to cast one­self as a de­fender of civil­i­sa­tion from some kind of new bar­bar­ians, but Rus­sia has no in­ten­tion to at­tack any­one,” Putin said. “It’s plain ridicu­lous.”

Rus­sia-West re­la­tions have plum­meted to their low­est point since the Cold War era amid the Ukrainian cri­sis and dif­fer­ences

over the war in Syria.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin

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