Lavrov labels election interference charges as baseless

07 November, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Diane Mills
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the indictments released Monday provided no evidence of Russian meddling.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there is no proof to these claims and they show there is no limit to fantasies.

"Kiev "has information" about the 2016 U.S. presidential election", Lavrov told a news briefing.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that USA charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide showed Moscow had been unfairly maligned in accusations that it meddled in last year's US presidential election. "[Kiev authorities] also have [things] to say about their standpoint during the United States presidential campaign", Lavrov told the media Tuesday.

Mr Peskov added that accusations of Russian meddling in the election were "unfounded", and "we are observing (the situation) with interest". They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and several other charges after the indictments in the Russian Federation probe were unsealed.

Peskov also brushed aside any suggestion that someone with links to the Russian Foreign Ministry might have tried to set up a meeting with the Trump campaign through a third ex-aide, George Papadopoulos, who it was announced on Monday pleaded guilty in early October to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Speaking to a meeting of business leaders in Moscow, Lavrov said: "Without any evidence, as you know, we are being accused of interfering in elections not only in the U.S. but also in European states".

Mr Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his long-time business partner Rick Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and other charges in connection with their work advising a political party in Ukraine.

Peskov laughed off the purported role of Papadopoulos, who told investigators he had tried to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russian leadership.

The charges are the first from an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and are not directly tied to the Trump himself.

"Recently, there was an allegation that Moscow decided what minister to appoint in South Africa", he added.

The indictment comes amid a months-long ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's attempts to interfere in the presidential election and any potential ties between Trump campaign staff members and the Kremlin.

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