President Vladimir Putin has renewed Russia’s rejection of accusations of interference in last year’s presidential election in the US, saying the claims were nothing more than “espionage mania”.
Donald Trump’s associates have been accused of colluding with Russian operatives during the 2016 US presidential campaign and transition — a claim the US president fiercely denies.
“All this was made up by people who are opposed to Trump,” Putin said at his annual press conference on Thursday in response to a question about allegations of Russian meddling.
Putin said the allegations were nothing more than mere “madness” and “espionage mania”, adding they were “dreamed up” by Trump’s “delirious” opponents in an effort to discredit the US president.
Such allegations are not only odd and disrespectful to US voters, but also counter-productive in solving the two countries’ common issues, he said.
“I find this very odd, frankly speaking. It seems to be done without realizing that, by doing this, people harm the country’s domestic political climate and weaken the capabilities of the elected head of state. That means that they have no respect for all those who voted for him (Trump),” Putin said.
He also expressed hope that the Americans would quit making accusations and start cooperating with Russia on major global challenges both countries were facing.
“Americans and Russians face common challenges, including terrorism, environmental issues, battling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East and tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Putin said.
The Russian leader hoped that possibilities would gradually emerge for Trump to establish contacts with Russia and “embark on a path of his campaign promises and plans.”
Trump has repeatedly told Americans that the allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia were not true.
There are currently multiple investigations by US security agencies into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.