Kremlin says U.S. indictment on election tampering proves nothing

The Kremlin says U.S. charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign did not contain any proof that the Russian state had been involved in such activity.

Putin official says charges focus on Russian nationals, giving 'no indication' Russian government was involved

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says there is no evidence that the Russian state could have been part of an alleged U.S. election tampering conspiracy. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

The Kremlin said Monday that U.S. charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign did not contain any proof that the Russian state had been involved in such activity.

"We still insist that these accusations are groundless," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "We do not think they are comprehensive in any way. We do not believe they are fair and we cannot agree with them. Russia did not meddle and does not have a habit of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and it is not doing it now."

The U.S. indictment released last Friday alleges a wealthy entrepreneur funnelled money to a so-called troll farm, which sent operatives to the United States, created fictitious social media accounts and used them to spread tendentious messages. The aim was either to influence voters or to undermine their faith in the U.S. political system, it's alleged.

According to the indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury, the Russian organization behind the propaganda was funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman with ties to the Russian government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The indictment alleges the aim of the plot was to tamper in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Republican Donald Trump and disparage Democrat Hillary Clinton.  

Peskov told reporters that while the indictment focuses on "Russian nationals," it gives "no indication that the Russian government was involved in this in any way."

Peskov insisted that Moscow did not meddle in the U.S. election.

With files from The Associated Press