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“It’s much simpler to distract people with so-called Russian hackers, spies, and agents of influence. Does anyone really think that Russia could influence the American people’s choice in any way? Is America a banana republic or what? America is a great power,” Putin told a number of foreign policy experts during a meeting in the port city of Sochi in southern Russia on Thursday.
Democrats in recent months have alleged that Putin favors Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with some even accusing the latter of being a stooge for the Russians.
Putin said this is a ridiculous assumption and added that Moscow does not favor either candidate.
“If you look at the programmes of the different candidates, you get the feeling that they are all tailored in the same way, and that the differences between them are insignificant, and in reality there are no differences,” he added.
But the Russian president went on to say that he is willing to work with whomever does become US president toward a peaceful and stable world.
He said allegations that Moscow favored Trump over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was just a way of manipulating people’s emotions ahead of the elections.
But both the State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry insisted on Thursday that the intelligence they had of Russian cyberattacks on US election systems was solid.
Kerry said that Russian meddling in the US election was designed to be disruptive and “annoying”.
Relations between Russia and the US have recently been strained over their different approaches to resolving the crisis in Syria.
The US has accused Russia and the Syrian government of targeting civilian areas in the besieged city of Aleppo while Moscow has accused Washington of failing to differentiate between so-called moderate rebels in the city and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies