Putin dismisses US hacking claims
PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin said US claims Russia had directed cyber attacks against Washington sought to “distract” American voters from domestic problems.
Washington last week formally accused the Russian government of trying to “interfere” in the 2016 White House race by hacking US political institutions, charges the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed.
“There are lots of problems [in the US],” Mr Putin said in a televised press conference on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in India.
“And in these conditions, many resort to tried-and-tested methods to distract voters’ attention from their own problems.”
The Kremlin strongman accused US officials of portraying Russia as an “enemy” in order to “unite a country in the fight” against it.
“This card is being played actively,” he said.
The Kremlin has slammed Washington for its “unprecedented” threats after US Vice President Joe Biden told NBC that Mr Putin would receive a “message” over the alleged hacking.
Mr Biden had said Washington would respond to the alleged attacks “at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact”.
NBC reported that the CIA was preparing a retaliatory cyber attack “designed to harass and ‘embarrass’ the Kremlin leadership”.
Striking a more conciliatory note, Mr Putin said he hoped Moscow and Washington could improve their relations once “this difficult period in the political life of the United States will pass”.
The Kremlin was propelled to the heart of American politics after Hillary Clinton’s campaign blamed Russia for an embarrassing leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee. –