Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims of Moscow's interference with the US election process, brushing off new US threats of retaliation against alleged cyberattacks by Russian hackers as campaign rhetoric by Washington. Speaking after the BRICS summit in India, Putin called the hacking allegations an effort to distract American voters from its own domestic failures.
"I would like to reassure everyone, including our US partners and friends - we do not intend to influence the US election campaign," Putin told reporters in Goa, India. Putin said he hoped bilateral relations could improve after the upcoming presidential election in November.
Putin's comments come just two days after US Vice President Joe Biden told NBC News that "we are sending a message" to Putin, noting that the retaliation "will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact."
Last week, the White House announced that US President Barack Obama is considering a "proportional response" to the alleged Russian cyberattacks, noting that any possible action taken may not be announced in advance or disclosed to the public.
Earlier this month, the US administration formally accused the Russian government of hacking into the computer system of the Democratic National Committee and other political organisations in an effort to "interfere" in the 8 November presidential election.
"You can expect anything from our American friends," Putin said. "But what did he say that was new? Don't we know that official bodies of the United States are spying and eavesdropping on everyone?
"The only new thing is that for the first time the United States has recognized at the highest level... that they themselves do it," Putin added referring to cyberattacks.
By "playing the Russian card" in the ongoing election campaign, Putin said Washington is seeking to distract American voters from its own domestic failures that include massive state debt and poor diplomacy in the Middle East.
"This is not the first time this is happening," Putin said. "If you look into it, research all the previous election campaigns - it's happening over and over again.
"It's not even funny anymore. But if someone wants confrontation, this is not our choice. On the contrary, we would like to find common ground and cooperate in solving the global problems that confront both Russia and the United States."
On 13 October, the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the Obama administration for destroying relations with Moscow in the build-up to the November election saying "the level of Russophobic propaganda coming from the very top is now starting to go off the scale."
"I hope that after the election period in the US, there will be a chance to restore relations between Moscow and Washington," Putin said. "We do not know what will happen after the US elections, but welcome everyone who wants to work with us."