The Kremlin says there is no evidence that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 US presidential election after Washington indicted a number of Russian individuals and companies for their alleged covert efforts to sway American voters in favor of then Republican candidate Donald Trump.
(News desk) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the charges drawn up by the office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Russians for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US election had “no grounds” and were unjust.
“There are no indications that the Russian government could be involved in this and nor can there be any,” Peskov said. “We still insist that this evidence has no grounds and we don’t consider it exhaustive, we don’t regard it as fair and cannot agree with it.”
The Kremlin spokesman stressed that “Russia has neither meddled, nor does it have a practice of interfering in the domestic affairs of other states and does not do so now.”
Peskov said the US indictment centered on individuals rather than the Russian government and presented no tangible proof that the Kremlin itself or Russian government agencies were involved.
“First, we haven’t seen any significant evidence so far that someone has meddled in America’s domestic affairs. Second, the matter in question pertains to Russian citizens, but we have heard Washington accusing the Russian state, the Kremlin and the Russian government of being complicit,” Peskov noted.
The comments by Peskov were Kremlin’s first reaction since the US Department of Justice on Friday indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organizations for allegedly interfering in the US presidential race in 2016 and taking part in efforts “to defraud” the United States.
Shortly after Mueller released his indictment list, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the indictment as “absurd” in a Facebook post and said the indictment manifested the “modern American political reality.”
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov firmly rejected the US indictments as “blabber” and “fantasies.”
In late 2016, Washington alleged that Russia had influenced the US presidential election in November that year to help Trump get elected, an allegation that Russia strongly denied. Back then, the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama threatened that the United States would respond to the alleged Russian meddling “at the time and place” of its choosing.
In November 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly rejected as “fantasies” claims that Moscow had interfered in the election in favor of Trump. The Russian leader also in December renewed Russia’s rejection of the same accusations, saying the claims were nothing more than “espionage mania.”
There are currently multiple investigations by US security agencies into the case.
Trump has repeatedly denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russians and has condemned the investigations. The US president has also labeled Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”
In a tweet on Friday, Trump said the indictments showed his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was “no collusion” with Russia.