Russian leader Vladimir Putin has denied claims his country is waging a cyber war against the United States.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, the Russian president rebuffed accusations Russian hackers, or the government itself, is using technological warfare against America – as baseless.
He said claims his country was involved in cyber attacks had become “farcical”, asking: “Where is the evidence? Where is the proof?”
“We have been accused of all kinds of things: election interference, cyber attacks and so on and so forth. And not once, not one time did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof,” he said.
Evidence has been put forward by US intelligence services of Russian hackers targeting the federal government and meddling in US elections.
Mr Putin also denied ordering the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Pressed on whether he had any involvement, he said: “Look, such decisions in this country are not made by the president.”
Russian intelligence services have been accused of poisoning Mr Navalny, who survived the incident but now remains in a Russian prison.
Asked whether the former opposition leader would make it out of prison alive, Mr Putin said: “He will not be treated any worse than anybody else.”
Mr Putin’s comments come just two days before he and Joe Biden are due to sit down for talks in Geneva on Wednesday.
The US president will be fresh from his meeting with NATO leaders, who have signalled that Russia remains a security risk to Western allies.
In his interview with NBC, Mr Putin said Russia would be willing to engage with other countries including the US and would value “predictability and stability”.
The Russian president has made no secret that he supported Mr Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who he called “extraordinary” and “talented”.
Mr Putin and Mr Biden have had somewhat more rocky relations, with the current US president agreeing when asked whether he thought the Russian president was a killer.
When this was put to Mr Putin, he replied: “Over my tenure, I’ve gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles. And none of it surprises me.”
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