Russia has dismissed the report by United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the US, saying it offers no proof of such meddling.
“The report contains no proven evidence that Russia allegedly interfered in the election process in the United States,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “As before, we do not accept such charges.” A redacted version of the 448-page report was released on Thursday. The report marked the culmination of a months-long probe by Mueller of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump campaign’s purported collusion with Russia. Those allegations surfaced soon after the election that year. While the report lays out wrongdoings by Trump and his associates, it stops short of providing conclusive evidence of collusion between Trump and Moscow. Peskov said the report contained “nothing new.” “All that information had been published by different sources and the mass media earlier,” he said. Peskov said that the publication of the report was “a fresh confirmation” of Moscow’s long-held position, that “investigators will not find any intervention however hard they may try” because “there was no such intervention.” Both Russia and Trump have long rejected any interference. They had dismissed the Mueller investigation while it was underway. Peskov said the report affected the two countries’ relations. “We regret the documents of this sort are causing direct influence on the development of Russian-US relations, whose condition leaves much to be desired,” he said. Also speaking on Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that he did not expect relations with Washington to improve following the release of the Mueller report. “Unfortunately, there is no sign that US political circles, particularly those who seek to score political points in the Congress from Russophobia, are ready for dialog,” Ryabkov said. “The document is most likely to have no effect from the standpoint of improving relations.” Ties between Russia and the West hit a low in 2014, after the then-Crimean territory of Crimea voted in a popular referendum to join the Russian Federation. The US has imposed rounds of economic sanctions, along with security measures, against Russia. Moscow has also responded with its own retaliatory measures against the West. While Trump has sought to improve relations with Moscow, he has so far been unable to. The release of the Mueller report, meanwhile, has only exacerbated the political bickering in the US over Russia.