“Where is the evidence?” Putin denies Russian hacker attacks on the United States
Interfering in the US election campaign, hacking or cyber attacks? Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have had nothing to do with any of this. Before meeting Joe Biden, however, the Kremlin boss also strikes a conciliatory tone.
KReml boss Vladimir Putin has once again called for evidence of hacker attacks in the United States attributed to Russia. “We have been accused of all sorts of things – election interference, cyberattacks and so on,” Putin said in an excerpt from an interview with the US broadcaster NBC News published on Monday after a translation of the station.
The allegations are “absurd” and no evidence has been presented to support the allegations. “Where is the evidence?” Asked Putin, who will meet with his US colleague Joe Biden in Geneva for a summit this Wednesday.
Several large US companies, including the US subsidiary of the world’s largest meat producer JBS and the operator of the colonial oil pipeline, have recently been victims of cyberattacks suspected of being hacked by hacking groups from Russia. In both cases, systems were blocked with ransomware in order to extort money for the release of the data.
In retaliation for the hacker attacks attributed to Moscow and meddling in US elections, the US expelled ten Russian diplomats in April and imposed new sanctions. Russia responded by expelling ten US diplomats and imposing sanctions on the US. In addition, the government in Moscow issued an entry ban for high-ranking US government officials.
Proposed cybersecurity cooperation
In the interview, Putin again suggested cooperation with the US on cybersecurity. “It is our great hope that we can start this process with our US partners,” he said, according to the translation. A first part of the interview was published on Saturday. The Kremlin initially did not publish its own transcript of the conversation.
The head of state was also asked about his imprisoned opponent Alexej Navalny. The opposition is not treated any worse than other prisoners, Putin said. Navalny has been detained in a penal camp east of Moscow for months. The Russian judiciary has accused the 45-year-old of violating probation conditions in previous criminal proceedings while he was recovering from an attack with the neurotoxin Novitschok in Germany.
Prisoner exchange as a topic at the meeting with Biden?
When asked by the NBC reporter whether he would be open to a prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington at his meeting with Biden on Wednesday, the Russian President said: “Yes, yes, yes, of course.” Specifically, it could be the in Russia imprisoned US citizens Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed act.
Former US Marine Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in prison in Moscow in 2020 on charges of espionage. Reed was also sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020 for assaulting Russian police officers while drunk.
Moscow, for its part, could seek the return of ex-arms dealer Viktor Bout, arrested in the United States, and Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot who is in custody for drug smuggling.