The Kremlin has said the US is attempting to interfere in the upcoming presidential elections in Russia by threatening to slap economic sanctions on key individuals and entities. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US' attempts are bound to fail and will not be able to have any impact on the polls.
In what is clearly a rebuttal to US' allegations regarding Russia's suspected role in the American presidential elections, the Kremlin has reiterated that Washington is trying to somehow influence the polls in March. In December 2017, the Kremlin openly accused the US of meddling in Russia's elections after citing the US' comments on opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is Putin's fierce critic.
The Russian presidential elections are set to take place on 18 March, with Putin widely tipped to secure a six-year term.
In the latest development, Peskov told reporters, "We do think this is a direct and obvious attempt timed to coincide with the elections in order to influence them. We do not agree with this and are convinced that there will be no influence."
His remarks come at a time when the US is preparing to release reports on the options of expanding sanctions on Russian individuals and entities.
The Trump administration is submitting the "Kremlin Report" – a detailed analysis of oligarchs, politicians and entrepreneurs linked to the Russian government – to the US Congress on Monday, 29 January. Though the report may not immediately lead to any punitive blacklisting, it would lay the groundwork for such measures.
"The very publication of the blacklist does not mean anything and the publication is not a new sanctions wave," Peskov said. "At the same time, we need to look and analyse what further actions will follow the publication. All these actions will, of course, be analysed in Moscow so that our interests and the interests of our companies are ensured in the maximum possible way in any case."
Russia and the US are locked in a diplomatic tussle over several global matters, such as the conflict in Syria and the Ukrainian crisis, but particularly over Moscow's alleged meddling in the US presidential elections. Russian officials have repeatedly denied playing any role in the matter, but investigations carried out by American agencies tell a different story.