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No evidence Russia interfered in US election, says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Moscow on October 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday said there was no evidence the country had interfered in the US elections, after a Washington probe accelerated with charges against three former aides to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“We are accused of interfering not only in US elections but also in those of other countries without one piece of evidence,” Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

Russia has repeatedly denied any attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election that brought Trump to power.

There are reports that “we don’t just interfere in elections, we manipulate the weather and bring about floods”, Lavrov quipped.

“Everyone likes to talk but no one can present any facts.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said that any accusations against Russia were absolutely unfounded.

“We refuted this from the very beginning and we refute this now,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists at a regular briefing.

“Any accusations that emerge from a US investigation into US citizens do not concern us: this is America’s internal business and we simply observe with interest.”

Peskov added that he hoped the probe would not contibute to “already overblown, hysterical Russophobia”.

On Monday Trump’s ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and another former aide appeared in court. They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and several other charges after the indictments in the Russia probe were unsealed.

Facebook, Google and Twitter are expected to tell Congress this week that Russian-backed content aimed at manipulating US politics during last year’s election was more extensive than first thought, US media reported.

At a meeting of The Association of European Businesses, Lavrov also said that the “sometimes unpredictable” actions of the current US administration had caused “serious fears”.

He pointed to threats to solve problems with the Korean peninsula by force, as well as Trump’s refusal to certify the Iran nuclear deal.



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