The Kremlin has dismissed a new report by US Senate Democrats describing Russian interference in the US and throughout Europe as unfounded and President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of “aggressive” overreaction. Some European politicians said they are mindful of Moscow’s meddling.
The 200-page report commissioned by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the first from Congress to detail alleged Russian efforts to undermine democracies since the 2016 US presidential election.
Commenting on the report, Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said that “the accusations of alleged meddling levelled against our country are absolutely unfounded.”
Speaking in a conference call Thursday with reporters, Peskov said that “such paranoid concerns not only hurt bilateral relations, but the US itself.” “When it grows into an obsession, it doesn’t create comfortable conditions for normal social development and life,” he said.
Speaking at a televised meeting with Russian newspaper editors, Putin pointed at what he described as US meddling in other countries’ affairs, adding that “if they poke their nose everywhere they must be able to respond to certain challenges they provoke themselves.”
“But please don’t interpret it like a recognition of our meddling, we haven’t meddled,” he added. “I want to underline again — it’s sheer nonsense. There has been no collusion, no interference on our part.”
“No one likes interference in their internal political issues and affairs; our American friends especially do not like it,” Putin said. “We see their reaction to unreliable information about our intervention, how sharp it is, I would even say how aggressive it is.”
The Russian leader didn’t specifically mention the Cardin report.
No Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signed on to Cardin’s inquiry, which directly blamed Putin for a “relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States.”
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the US election to help Donald Trump, a Republican, defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. The congressional and the FBI investigations into the Russian meddling have haunted Trump, thwarting Russia’s hopes for better ties with the US under his administration.
Putin said that Russia remains willing to improve ties with the US, but added that the US political infighting makes it difficult.