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UPDATE 1-Russia calls U.S. allegations over Putin-directed election meddling 'baseless'

· 03/17/2021 02:52
UPDATE 1-Russia calls U.S. allegations over Putin-directed election meddling 'baseless'

Adds quotes, detail, background

- Russia on Wednesday described U.S. intelligence allegations that President Vladimir Putin had likely directed efforts to try to swing the 2020 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump as baseless.

A 15-page American intelligence report, released on Tuesday, added heft to longstanding allegations that some of Trump's top lieutenants were playing into Moscow's hands by amplifying claims made against then-candidate Joe Biden by Russian-linked Ukrainian figures in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. nL1N2LE1ZI

"The document prepared by the U.S. intelligence community is another set of baseless accusations against our country for interfering in American domestic political processes," Russia's embassy in the United States said in a statement on Facebook.

"The conclusions of the report on Russia conducting influence operations in America are confirmed solely by the confidence of the intelligence services of their self-righteousness. No facts or specific evidence of such claims were provided."

Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week because of the allegations, three sources said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. Those sanctions could also address the cyber hack blamed on Russia that used U.S. company SolarWinds Corp SWI.N to penetrate U.S. government networks.

Russia has denied any involvement in that hack.

The United States imposed sanctions on four senior Russian officials earlier this month over Moscow's treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, something Moscow cast as unacceptable meddling in its domestic affairs. nL2N2L01MC

Russia's U.S. embassy in Washington on Wednesday accused the United States of seeking to besmirch Russia's image and of blaming others for its own problems.

"We state that Washington continues to practice 'megaphone diplomacy, with the main goal to maintain a negative image of Russia. To blame external players for destabilising the situation inside the country," the embassy said in the same statement.

"This attitude of the administration hardly corresponds to our proposed equal and mutually respectful expert dialogue in search of solutions to the most pressing issues. Washington's actions do not lead to the normalisation of bilateral relations."


(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Maria Kiselyova;
Editing by Andrew Osborn)

((alexander.marrow@thomsonreuters.com;))