Russia claims to have evidence the U.S. has attempted to interfere in Moscow’s forthcoming presidential vote, the RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday.
The Interfax news agency cited Ryabkov as saying the U.S. was looking to create chaos in Russia. He also added that U.S.-imposed sanctions were primarily aimed at destabilizing the country. Ryabkov provided no evidence to support these claims.
Russian citizens are due to head to the ballot box on March 18, with the latest opinion polls indicating an overwhelming victory for incumbent Vladimir Putin.
Many Western observers are skeptical about the democratic merit of Russia’s electoral process in general.
Russia’s alleged election interference
The strongman leader of Russia is a dominant force in political life and has been since first becoming prime minister in 1999, and alternating between that role and president — the Russian constitution does not allow presidents to serve more than two consecutive terms — up to the present day.
Despite apparently cordial relations between President Donald Trump and Putin, international headlines have been dominated by a U.S. investigation into whether the Russian state was involved in meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. So far, the investigation has charged individuals and businesses with interference, saying they sought to undermine Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.
U.S. intelligence agencies have unanimously agreed that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, something Russia has frequently denied.
SOURCE: Sam Meredith