Former Russian ambassador calls election meddling allegations 'fantasies'

Sergey Kislyak spoke the day after the release of an indictment implicating 13 Russian nationals in election meddling

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Saturday 17 February 2018 14:57 EST
Rod Rosenstein announces thirteen Russian nationals have been indicted in Mueller probe

Russia’s former ambassador has dismissed allegations of a years-long campaign to disrupt the US presidential election as “fantasies” that have “spoiled the trust” between the two nations.

A day after special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential Russian interference produced 13 indictments of Russian nationals, former ambassador Sergey Kislyak accused America of engaging in a “hunting spree throughout the world on Russian computer wizards”.

“I'm not sure that I can trust American law enforcement to be the most precise and truthful source of information about what Russians do,” Mr Kislyak said at a conference in Munich.

“Whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States in the fight between different sides of the political divide,” he added.

An indictment unveiled a day earlier alleged a sophisticated plot to foment distrust of American government and denigrate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

It accused employees of the Internet Research Agency — described as “a Russian organisation engaged in political and electoral interference operations” that sought to conduct “information warfare against the United States of America” — of operating with a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system” and undermine Ms Clinton.

The indictment called Trump campaign officials’ interactions with Russian agents “unwitting,” but contacts between Mr Kisylak and people in president Donald Trump’s orbit have helped shape Mr Mueller’s probe.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference after it was revealed he did not disclose meetings with Mr Kislyak, and former campaign aide and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the then-ambassador.

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