07:08 GMT +326 April 2018
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall

    Putin: Russians Accused of Meddling in US Election Might Work for US Firms

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC broadcaster in an interview that those Russians accused by the United States in meddling in the 2016 presidential vote might as well have been Russians working for US companies or any presidential candidates.

    "The world is very large and very diverse, and there is a fairly complicated relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation. And some of our people have their own opinion about this relationship. You mentioned a number of names, some individuals. And you are telling me that they are Russians. So what? Maybe being Russian, they are actually working for some kind of American company. Perhaps one of them used to work for one of the candidates? I have no idea. These are not my problems," Putin said.

    He noted that those people blamed for interfering in the election might as well have been US citizens.

    "Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this? Nothing has changed since you and I talked last time in St. Petersburg [June 2017]. Some names have popped up, so what? They could just as easily have been the names of some Americans who are sitting here and interfering in your own political process," Putin added.

    READ MORE: 'Traitor!': WATCH Protester Hurling Russian Flag at Manafort

    In February, the US Justice Department revealed in court documents that the United States accused 13 Russian nationals and three entities of trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential vote. The 27-page indictment, a product of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, alleged that those accused used fake personas to try to influence the outcome of the elections in US President Donald Trump’s favor.

    READ MORE: Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Comes to US Congress to Testify in Russia Probe

    Tags:
    alleged Russian meddling, election interference, 2016 US Presidential election, Robert Mueller, United States, Russia
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