Europe

Putin calls US election meddling claims 'absurd'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Source: AAP

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the accusation that Russia interfered in the American elections in 2016 is "the most absurd thing".

Russia has never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries and has no intention to do so, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview Thursday.

Speaking to the Corriere della Sera newspaper ahead of meetings with Pope Francis and Italian leaders, Putin rejected recent accusations of Russian meddling in US and European elections.

"The most absurd thing was the accusation that Russia interfered in the American elections," he said, arguing that the US federal inquiry led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller "failed to gather concrete evidence simply because nothing had happened".

President Vladimir Putin chairs a cabinet meeting in the Kremlin on Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin chairs a cabinet meeting in the Kremlin on Wednesday.
AAP

Last week, US President Donald Trump also appeared to ridicule the issue when he met Putin at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Asked by a journalist, Trump mockingly wagged a finger towards his Russian counterpart and, with a smirk, told him: "Don't meddle in the election."

Mueller's investigation has concluded that Russian agents interfered to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential elections, but said there was not enough evidence to establish active collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Putin also denied alleged Russian interference in May's European Parliament elections, calling it "a rumour" designed to "demonise Russia in the eyes of ordinary European citizens."

"I want to make this very clear: we have not interfered and do not intend to interfere in the internal affairs of either EU member states or any other states," he said.

"This is what sets us apart from the US and a number of their allies who, for example, supported the coup in Ukraine in February 2014," he said.

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