Russian President Vladimir Putin today ridiculed the US focus on his country’s ambassador’s contacts with President Trump’s transition team and pointed out that the envoy was doing what he was supposed to do.
Speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin insisted that it is Ambassador Sergei Kislyak’s duty to maintain contacts with various people in Washington.
Kislyak’s meetings with members of Trump’s team have been a focus of the congressional investigation.
Putin insisted that it was perfectly normal for Kislyak to try to establish contacts and discuss future ties, adding that he hadn’t even started to discuss specifics. He described the focus on Kislyak’s contacts as “catastrophic nonsense.”
Putin denied that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election, saying the claims lack substance.
He added that the claims contained “nothing concrete, only assumptions.”
Putin further said that IP addresses allegedly belonging to Russian hackers could have been easily rigged and couldn’t stand as evidence.
U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking into Democratic Party emails, helping Donald Trump’s election victory, and the congressional and FBI investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia have broken the Kremlin’s hopes for a detente with Washington.
Putin attributed the accusations of Russian interference to the Democrats’ anger over losing the vote, adding that Trump won because he has been more successful in his campaign.
(With AP inputs)