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Ex-Russian diplomat calls US charges ‘fantasies’

/ 06:56 AM February 18, 2018

A view of the four-story building known as the “troll factory” in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday, February 17, 2018. The United States government allege the Internet Research Agency started interfering as early as 2014 in US politics, extending to the 2016 presidential election, saying the agency was funded by a St. Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. (AP Photo/Naira Davlashyan)

MOSCOW — Russia’s former ambassador to the United States is dismissing detailed allegations of attempted Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as “fantasies” rooted in domestic politics.

Former Ambassador Sergei Kislyak said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday: “I’m not sure that I can trust American law enforcement to be the most precise and truthful source of information about what Russians do.”

Kislyak’s comments came as top Russian and American officials exchanged barbs over Friday’s indictment of 13 Russians accused of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.


“I have never done anything of this sort. None in my embassy did. So whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States in the fight between different sides of the political divide,” Kislyak said.

The senior diplomat’s name has come up in the FBI and congressional investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration.

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has told an international audience that the evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 American election is beyond dispute.

H.R. McMaster was answering a question from a Russian delegate, shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left the same stage at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Referring to the indictment of 13 Russians announced on Friday, McMaster said that “with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now incontrovertible” of Russia cyber-meddling.

He also scoffed at any move to work with Russia on cyber-security, saying “we would love to have a cyber dialogue when Russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage.”

Lavrov, just moments earlier, had dismissed the indictments as “just blabber” through an interpreter.


Asked about the indictments Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, Lavrov replied: “I have no response. You can publish anything, and we see those indictments multiplying, the statements multiplying.”

He argued that US officials also have said no country influenced the US election results.

“Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber,” Lavrov also said.

The federal indictment brought on Friday by US special counsel Robert Mueller represents the most detailed allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling during the campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House.

One of the 13 Russians indicted by the US for interfering in the American presidential election said the US justice system is unfair.

Mikhail Burchik was quoted as saying by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that, “I am very surprised that, in the opinion of the Washington court, several Russian people interfered in the elections in the United States. I do not know how the Americans came to this decision.”

Burchik was identified in the indictment as executive director of an organization that allegedly sowed propaganda on social media to try to interfere with the 2016 election.

Burchik was quoted as saying on Saturday that “they have one-sided justice, and it turns out that you can hang the blame on anyone.”            /kga

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TAGS: Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Cyber Security, Election, interference, meddling, Politics, Russia, troll army, troll factory, trolls, United States
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