Russia Rejects U.S. Report That Putin Authorized Election Meddling

Russia has denied a U.S. report saying President Vladimir Putin authorized misinformation operations to try to influence last year’s presidential election.

The Russian Embassy in Washington on March 17 called the allegations “another set of baseless accusations against our country for interfering in American domestic political processes.”

The statement came in response to a report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on March 16 that assessed Putin had “authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President [Joe] Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President [Donald] Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the United States.”

Biden defeated Trump in the vote and was inaugurated on January 20.

The report said Moscow’s strategy primarily revolved around using “proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives” to U.S. media, officials, and prominent individuals in the run-up to the November 3 election.

The Russian Embassy accused the United States of seeking to give a “negative image of Russia and of blaming others for its own problems.

Moscow has repeatedly denied Western allegations of election interference.

The U.S. intelligence report also accused Iran of carrying out “a multi-pronged covert influence campaign” to damage Trump’s reelection campaign, but did not actively promote Biden.

Iranian officials have not yet commented on the allegations.

Trump pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran over its nuclear and missile programs, as well as its support for regional proxies, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. intelligence community said in August 2020 that Russia, Iran, and China were actively trying to meddle in the forthcoming presidential election.

But in its latest report, it concluded with “high confidence” that China, which has long been accused of cyberespionage by Washington, chose not to “deploy interference efforts” ahead of the vote.

It also concluded that no foreign government had compromised the final results.

With reporting by Reuters
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