Vladimir Putin dismisses US hacking allegations as ‘playing the Russian card’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed US threats to retaliate against alleged Russian hackers, saying such statements only confirmed Washington used cyber attacks for political ends.

Speaking after a summit of developing economies in India on Sunday, Mr Putin also said he believed the hacking allegations were mainly election campaign rhetoric by the White House.

He said he hoped bilateral ties could improve after the US election.

US Vice President Joe Biden told NBC News television on Friday that “we are sending a message” to Mr Putin, and retaliation for Russia’s hacking attacks “will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact”.
The US government officially accused Russia for the first time of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organisations ahead of the 8 November presidential election.

“The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organisations,” the statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.

Mr Putin added: “You can expect anything from our American friends. But what did he say that was new? Don’t we know that official bodies of the United States are spying and eavesdropping on everyone?”

“The only new thing is that for the first time the United States has recognised at the highest level … that they themselves do it [cyber attacks].”
Mr Putin said that by “playing the Russian card” in the current election campaign, the outgoing US administration sought to distract voter attention from its failures, which include huge state debt, weak diplomacy in the Middle East and strained relations with its allies in that region.

“I would like to reassure everyone, including our US partners and friends – we do not intend to influence the US election campaign,” he said.

Mr Putin said he would work with any US leader willing to work with Russia.

“If someone wants confrontation, this is not our choice,” he said.

“On the contrary, we would like to find common ground and cooperate in solving the global problems that confront both Russia and the United States.”

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