'I don't care': Putin on alleged US election interference
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn't care about alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election because the actions weren't connected to his government.
In an interview with American broadcaster NBC News that aired yesterday, Putin also suggested that some of the 13 Russian nationals indicted by the United States may not be ethnically Russian.
"Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked," he said.
Putin responded brusquely when interviewer Megyn Kelly asked if he condoned the interference that was alleged in last month's US indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller.
"It's all the same to me. To me it absolutely makes no difference because they do not represent the government," Putin answered, according to the Russian-language interview transcript posted yesterday by the Kremlin.
Putin said Russia has neither the tools nor the will to meddle in elections. He repeatedly complained during the interview that Washington has brushed off Russian initiatives to work together on cyber security issues.
"But the US refuses to work like this and instead throws 13 Russians to the media," he said, going on to list the possible ethnicities that would make the suspects "not even Russian."
"Maybe they have dual citizenship or a green card; maybe the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know, either," the Russian leader said.
Putin claimed that the United States interferes in Russian elections "all the time" but that it was "impossible for us" to do the same.