Moscow says has proof of Western interference to sway Russian presidential election
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (photo by AFP)
Islam Times - Russia says some Western countries are attempting to influence the country’s presidential election next month, stressing that it has concrete evidence of the alleged meddling.
Speaking at a regular press briefing on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow had tangible evidence of “the destructive interference of some Western countries” in internal Russian affairs ahead of the presidential election in March.
She said Moscow had warned unspecified European countries that “such activity should stop.”
“If it does not stop, we will have to take tough counter-measures,” Zakharova emphasized.
In late 2016, the United States alleged that Russia had influenced the US presidential election in November that year to help now-incumbent Donald Trump get elected, an allegation that Russia strongly denied. Back then, the outgoing administration of president Barack Obama threatened that the US would respond to the alleged Russian meddling “at the time and place of our choosing.”
Soon, European accusations of a similar nature followed, with governments alleging that Moscow was trying to influence elections in their countries. Russia has denied those allegations, too.
Since the Ukrainian conflict erupted in 2014, relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated. Western countries accuse Russia of having a hand in the conflict in Ukraine’s east — the Donbass — which continues to this day.
Moscow has said it has no involvement in that conflict. Ethnic Russians in the Donbass took up arms only after the government in Kiev attempted to crush their initially peaceful protests some four years ago.
Western countries have imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian conflict. The US has also slapped sanctions over the election meddling allegations, which are still being probed by a special counsel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries would eventually backfire.
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