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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian citizens accused by the United States of interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections did not represent the country's authorities, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the NBC broadcaster in an interview aired on Sunday.
"I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities. What they did specifically, I have no idea," Putin said.
The Russian president added that even if Russian citizens did what they are suspected of doing, the US authorities should share the information they have regarding this.
"Let them just not talk to the press, let them provide some materials, specifics and data. We'll be prepared to look at them and talk about it," Putin said.
Putin also stressed that Russia will never extradite its nationals, accused of the election meddling, to the United States.
"Never. Russian never extradites its citizens to anyone, just like the United States," Putin said, while answering Megyn Kelly’s question on whether Moscow is going to extradite its citizens if Washington presents the evidence.
The interview comes after 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.
Russia has faced numerous accusations of interference in foreign elections, including the 2016 US presidential vote. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the claims groundless, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that there was no evidence to substantiate the accusations.
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