Putin denies involvement in hacking, praises Trump


The story has taken another twist now as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has admitted that "patriotically minded" private Russian hackers may have influenced the 2016 U.S. election according to The New York Times.

It is "theoretically possible" that "patriotic" Russians made a decision to take matters into their own hands in response to negative reporting on Russia by the US media and other foreign outlets, Putin said Thursday in a meeting with senior editors of leading global news agencies.

USA intelligence agencies have accused Russian Federation of hacking into Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign, leading to the release of information embarrassing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, as a result, aiding President Donald Trump's election win. But he implied that it would be patriotic for private Russian citizens to "start making contributions - which are right, from their point of view - to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia". "Modern technologies allow doing this, this is done quite easily", said Putin. Putin also profusely denied that Moscow had plans to intervene in the elections in Germany that will take place later this year.

The statement is the closest Putin has come to acknowledging the view of United States intelligence agencies that Russian hackers were behind the hacking campaigns targeting Democrats during last year's election.

In an interview in his office Thursday with The Associated Press, Guillaume Poupard said the Macron campaign hack "was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone". Macron's aides claimed in February that Russian groups were interfering with his campaign, and a document leak hit Macron's campaign in the final hours of the French race.

Putin also said he is convinced that hackers can not affect election results in any country.

While Putin denied that Russian government officials were involved in the cyber attacks, it was the first time Putin admitted that any Russians whatsoever may well have had some sort of role in the hacks that upended the USA presidential election, and which are still dogging President Donald Trump and his administration.

The General Framework Agreement (GFA) and Credit protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam nuclear plant are seen as a major outcome of the annual summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian meddling was also a concern in France, with Putin publicly expressing his sympathy for President Emmanuel Macron's rivals in the campaign.

The House intelligence committee says it is issuing subpoenas for Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen - President Donald Trump's former national security adviser and his personal lawyer - as well as their businesses as part of its investigation into Russian activities during last year's election.

"The US, do you have (close ties)?" added Putin, before going on to say: "And for sure our relations with Pakistan have no impact on trade between India and Russian Federation".

Russia's relations with the West have been at post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis.

He predicted that the current strain in relations will ease, because "it's counterproductive and harmful".