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Putin: No plans to 'influence' US election

October 16, 2016

Moscow would welcome any US leader who is willing to work with Russia, President Vladimir Putin told reporters in India. Adding, Hillary Clinton pursued a more "aggressive" tone towards Russia than Donald Trump.

Indien Brics-Treffen in Benaulim - Putin & Jinping
Image: Reuters/A. Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin

The Kremlin chief dismissed the US' allegations of Russian hacking on Sunday, commenting on the claims that Moscow-based hackers were trying to embarrass the US Democrats and get people to side with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"I would like to reassure everyone, including our US partners and friends, we do not intend to influence the US election campaign," Putin told reporters in Goa, India.

Putin's remarks came on the side of a meeting of leaders from the BRICS - which include Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

The US government officially accused Moscow of cyber attacks earlier this month, following similar claims from Democratic Party officials. On Friday, US Vice President Joe Biden publicly threatened a US retaliation hacking against Russia.

Putin, however, dismissed the issue as campaign rhetoric.

"You can expect anything from our American friends," he told journalists.

"Don't we know that official bodies of the United States are spying and eavesdropping on everyone?" he added. "The only new thing is that for the first time the United States has recognized at the highest level ... that they themselves do [cyber attacks]."

"We can see that they are a bit nervous," Putin said of Biden's warning.

Russia as scapegoat

Russian secret services are operating "strictly within the Russian law, unlike the NSA, which acts against even the US regulation," he added.

The president of Russia accused the outgoing US administration of "playing the Russian card" in order to distract voters from its failures, including a large state debt and bad diplomacy in the Middle East. He also said relations between Moscow and Washington should not be sacrificed over internal political issues.

"This is not the first time this is happening. If you look into it, research all the previous election campaigns – it's happening over and over," said Putin, adding that the process was "not funny anymore."

Trump ready to cooperate

Speaking of the US-Moscow relations after the elections, Putin said he hoped that ties could be restored after the end of the presidential campaign. The Kremlin, Putin added, is ready to cooperate with any leader who was willing to work with Russia.

Donald Trump praises Russian leadership

 "Mrs. Clinton has chosen aggressive rhetoric, an aggressive position on relations with Russia, and Mr. Trump, in turn, is urging cooperation, at least where antiterrorism efforts are concerned." he said.

"However, none of us can know what will happen after the election. We do not know if presidential candidate Trump would act according to his intentions or how far his cooperation would go. If Mrs. Clinton becomes president, would that mean that the threats and tough rhetoric would come true?," Putin asked.

"She might also change her position."

dj/jlw (Reuters, dpa)