US indictments against Russians ‘jut blabber’


Russia has dismissed the indictments of 13 of its citizens in the US for allegedly interfering in last year’s American presidential election as “blabber”.

Sergei Lavrov, the country’s foreign minister, said at a summit of world leaders that the indictments were simply “allegations multiplying”.

On Friday, the US special counsel, Robert Mueller, brought indictments that alleged an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 race.

The documents also targeted three Russian companies, including a St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency known for its trolling on social media.

Mr Lavrov, speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, said: “I don’t have a reaction because anything and everything can be published.”

“We see how accusations, statements, are multiplying.”

“So as long as we don’t see facts, everything else is blabber.”

He also stressed that US officials include Vice-President Mike Pence had “denied that any country influenced results of the election”.

:: US indictments: Putin’s chef, Trump’s reaction and other key facts

US Vice President Mike Pence meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (unseen) at the Presidential Palace in the capital Cairo on January 20, 2018. US indictments against Russians 'jut blabber' US indictments against Russians ‘jut blabber’ skynews mike pence us 4233510
Mike Pence has denied Russia influenced the 2016 election

But US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor told politicians minutes later at the same event that evidence of Russian meddling was beyond dispute.

Herbert McMaster answered a question from a Russian delegate, saying “with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now incontrovertible”.

He also scoffed at any move to work with Russia on cybersecurity, saying “we would love to have a cyber dialogue when Russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage”.

Mr Trump has said the indictments vindicate him as they prove there has been “no collusion” between his campaign and Russians.

Donald Trump US indictments against Russians 'jut blabber' US indictments against Russians ‘jut blabber’ skynews president donald trump 4172732

Trump: ‘absolutely no collusion’ with Russia

The 13 Russians charged were allegedly members of a troll factory accused of engaging in operations to “spread distrust” in the US and its democratic systems.

Mr Mueller’s announcement was the first legal document to name the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a private organisation based in St Petersburg, of illegally interfering in US politics.

According to the indictment, the organisation sought to conduct what it called “information warfare against the USA” through fictitious US personas on social media platforms and other internet-based media.

A sample Russian troll tweet. Pic: Twitter US indictments against Russians 'jut blabber' US indictments against Russians ‘jut blabber’ skynews internet research agency 4211615
A sample tweet sent from the IRA troll farm. Pic: Twitter

The agency’s funding came through a catering company owned by Evgeny Prigozhin, who is among those charged in the indictment and is widely considered to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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