Russia calls new US election meddling claim 'hysteria'

Moscow, Russia Published: Aug 03, 2018, 05:05 PM(IST)

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks to the media in Moscow. Photograph:( AFP )

Russia on Friday called new US election meddling claims "hysteria" that "makes a mockery" of America after Washington accused Moscow of a continued campaign to influence its public opinion.

It was the latest round of tit-for-tat barbs  between the two powers over allegations by US intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 US election that brought Donald Trump to office.   

"The two-year hysteria over some kind of Russian interference in elections -- which never happened -- does not only damage bilateral relations but makes a mockery of the whole political system in the US," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists. 

In a warning just months before crucial legislative polls, the US government accused Russia on Thursday of carrying out a "pervasive" campaign to influence elections. 

"We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign from Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States," said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

A slew of top US officials including Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen vowed to investigate and prosecute those who were trying to sway US opinion or carrying out what Wray described as "information warfare".

"Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs," Nielsen said in an unusually stark warning.

Russian authorities have rejected all accusations of interference in foreign elections. 

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