Putin meets Merkel, denies interfering in US election
The German Chancellor, on her first visit to Russia since 2015, said she was not fearful of Russian meddling in this year’s German election and Germans would deal decisively with any cases of wrong information.world Updated: May 02, 2017 20:12 IST
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that allegations that Russia had meddled in last year’s US presidential election were based on rumours and that Moscow did not want foreign powers to interfere in Russian politics.
Putin was speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi and responding to a question about US allegations of Moscow’s meddling and allegations that Russia might meddle in German elections on September 24.
The meeting between the two leaders was a signal of renewed dialogue despite profound rifts, on Merkel’s first visit to Russia since 2015.
“We never interfere in the political life and the political processes of other countries and we don’t want anybody interfering in our political life and foreign policy processes,” said Putin.
The Russian leader said foreign powers had tried to meddle in Russian politics many times in recent years however, including through non-governmental organisations.
Merkel said she was not fearful of Russian meddling in German polls.
“I am not an anxious person, I will fight the election on the basis of my convictions,” she said, adding Germans would deal decisively with any cases of wrong information.
“We know cyber criminality is an international challenge .. but we expect that the German election will go ahead unharmed and that we have enough different positions to tackle a range of topics,” she said.
Merkel last visited Russia in May 2015 when she met Putin in Moscow but, like most Western leaders, snubbed a Red Square parade for the 70th anniversary of World War II victory.
Merkel has strongly backed EU sanctions on Russia for seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supporting the pro-Kremlin separatist insurgency in the east of the country.