President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday that the Russian state has never engaged in hacking and shot down allegations that hacking could interfere with the outcome of elections in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
“We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so,” Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Putin said that evidence pointing at Russian hackers’ participation in attacks is essentially fake news to make Russia look bad.
“I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack,” Putin said. “Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily.”
There is an ongoing investigation to determine whether or not Russia meddled in the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but Putin doesn’t buy it.
“I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign,” he said. “No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.”
Putin also said the “Russo-phobic hysteria” has made it difficult to ease relations between Russia and the United States.
“It’s having an impact, and I’m afraid this is one of the goals of those who organize it are pursuing and they can fine-tune the public sentiments to their liking trying to establish an atmosphere that is going to prevent us from addressing common issues, say with regard to terrorism,” Putin said.
TheWrap reported earlier this week that Putin would appear on the premiere of “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” and the NBC News star confirmed on Thursday morning that the Russian president has agreed to a one-on-one interview.
Kelly is currently in Russia to moderate a session of the Economic Forum.
“I’ll get the chance to ask him directly about these allegations of meddling and the prospect of our two countries working together and beyond,” Kelly said on NBC’s “Today” show.