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Russian Security Council: But we're getting hacked, too

Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev says Russia has seen a marked increase in attempted foreign cyberattacks. He was responding to accusations that Russia has targeted networks in the United States and Europe.

Russia has become a target of foreign cyberattacks, a senior official told news agencies on Sunday. Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made the claim after US intelligence agencies alleged that the Kremlin directed an effort to interfere in November's presidential elections by using stolen information to bolster support for now President-elect Donald Trump.

"Recently, we have established a significant growth in attempts to inflict damage on the Russian information system from the side of outside powers," Patrushev said on Sunday, news agencies reported. "Global operators and providers are widely used, while the methods they use constantly evolve," the former head of Russia's FSB secret service, who is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, added.

Patrushev denied that Russian hackers helped swing the US election. He accused the Obama administration of "deliberately ignoring the fact that the main internet servers are based on the territory of the United States and are used by Washington for intelligence and other purposes aimed at retaining its global domination." However, he added that Russia's regime would hope to establish "constructive contacts" with the incoming Trump administration.

False alarm?

Though he ran a divisive campaign that vilified many groups of Americans, Trump - a self-proclaimed billionaire whose six bankruptcies are public knowledge but who has refused to release his financial records as previous presidents have - was never short of praise for President Putin and has called for better ties with Russia, even breaking with many of his fellow Republicans. He will take office on Friday with the lowest approval rating of any incoming US president in decades.

Officials rejected a "Sunday Times" report that Trump, who settled a pair of class action fraud lawsuits for $25 million (23.5 million euros) following November's election, would meet Putin in Iceland shortly after taking office. Citing unnamed British officials, the newspaper reported that Trump would emulate Ronald Reagan's 1986 Reykjavik meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Though incoming US Vice President Mike Pence said Trump would certainly like close ties with Moscow, representatives from both nations claim that no such discussions are in the immediate offing.

"There have not been talks about a meeting yet," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the official Russian news agency RIA on Sunday, responding to the report.

In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" published on Friday, Trump hinted that he could lift sanctions imposed on Russia over the alleged cyberattacks if the country helps the United States on what he considers key goals.

mkg/tj (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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