Russian officials have once more vigorously rejected accusations of meddling in the US presidential election and dismissed allegations that Moscow was behind a series of recent hacks on US institutions.
In an interview with television network CNN on Wednesday, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov dismissed the US claims of Russian interference as “ridiculous” and said they have been totally unproven.
“It’s flattering, of course, to get this kind of attention — for a regional power, as [US] President [Barack] Obama called us some time ago,” Lavrov said. “Now everybody in the United States is saying that it is Russia which is running the [US] presidential debate.”
However, he added: “We have not seen a single fact, a single proof” that Russia was behind the hacks.
The US last week accused Russia of coordinating the disclosure of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and individuals in the US to influence the outcome of the election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Wednesday told reporters that such claims were “absurd.”
Russia remains committed to efforts to combat cyberterrorism, Peskov said.
Pressed with questions about the hacking allegations in the CNN interview, Lavrov responded by saying: “No, we didn’t deny this. They didn’t prove it.”
He added that he was putting himself “in the shoes of the American politicians” and assuming that there should be a “presumption of innocence” until the US produces evidence of Russian involvement.
In response to a question about the US threat to respond in a “proportional way,” Lavrov said it was not worth speculating about.
“If they decided to do something, let them do it. But to say that Russia is interfering in [the US’] domestic matters is ridiculous, he said.”
Asked to comment about the recently surfaced video showing Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump talking lewdly about women, Lavrov said that since English is not his native language, he is unsure if his response would sound decent.
“There are so many pussies around your presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment about this,” he added, referring to the same vulgar term for a woman’s genitals that Trump used.
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