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International

Putin on Russia's meddling in the US election: 'I don't care. I couldn't care less'

13:25, Saturday, 10 March, 2018
Putin on Russia's meddling in the US election: 'I don't care. I couldn't care less'

Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside US accusations that Russian individuals and organizations had meddled in the 2016 US election to help boost Donald Trump and hamstring his political opponents.

The investigation of that meddling is part of several inquiries being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees.

Among the preliminary findings, US prosecutors said a notorious Russian "troll factory" known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) focused on sowing political discord in the US via social-media platforms and through the dissemination of pro-Trump propaganda, which included made-up stories disguised as news articles.

Thirteen Russian nationals are accused of engaging in "various capacities to carry out" the IRA's "interference operations targeting the United States."

In an interview with NBC News' Megyn Kelly that aired Friday night, Putin said he "couldn't care less" about the charges.

"So what if they're Russians? There are 146 million Russians. So what? ... I don't care. I couldn't care less. ... They do not represent the interests of the Russian state," he said.

The US social-media sites Facebook and Twitter have publicly acknowledged that Russia used their platforms to spread political antipathy. Facebook said fake accounts "likely operated out of Russia"bought thousands of ads that were seen by an untold number of people during the 2016 election.

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