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Kremlin waits for explanation from US officials on corruption accusations against Putin

January 29, 18:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
US White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that US Treasury Adam Szubin’s statements on Putin’s alleged involvement in corruption reflect the view of the US Administration
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama (archive)

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama (archive)

©  Sergei Guneyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. The Kremlin said US White House’s accusations of corruption against Russian President Vladimir Putin are unacceptable, outrageous and insulting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier today that such groundless statements aim to play the card of Vladimir Putin in upcoming elections both in the United States and Russia.

Moscow waits for explanation

"We consider statements of my colleague in the White House unacceptable both from the point of view of general practice of international relations and of bilateral Russian-US relations. We consider these statements outrageous and insulting," Peskov said commenting on US officials’ accusations of corruption against Russian leadership.

"Of course, we will wait for further explanation from US high-ranking officials. It looks like we really need further explanation because such statements are absolutely unprecedented," he added.

"Since this is an unprecedented situation, we hope that our American partners will also feel the need to provide some sort of explanation," Peskov noted.

The spokesman said that US admits its weakness by making such statements. "We are confident that this is not a demonstration of force but rather of weakness and powerlessness. This will not affect neither Putin nor Russia in any way," he noted.

Peskov added that "unprecedented insulting statements are automatically projected on at least 100 million people that live in ur country and fully support President Putin."

Putin as topic in US election campaign

The spokesman reminded that election campaign is gaining momentum in the United States. The new US president will be elected in November, and the new Administration will start its term in the White House in January 2017. Peskov said that the topic of Putin is used in this campaign as well.

"We can see active use of the Russian topic and topic of Putin in electoral games in the United States," he said. "They are competing in slamming Russia and Putin" to decide who will take the harshest stance, the spokesman added.

Presidential candidate from the Republican Part Donald Trump confirmed his readiness to meet and talk to Putin. "His political opponents, Democrats, criticize that he wants to meet with such a bad man," Peskov said adding that this is "manipulating the Russian topic, topic of Putin in domestic political electoral campaign in the United States."

"Our so-called partners are not happy with Russia’s consistent position on Ukrainian affairs and Syrian matters, with Russia’s active position in international affairs in general," Peskov went on. "Unfortunately, colleagues go as far as using personal insults in their rejection of this active position," he added.

Smear campaign against Putin "just in case"

US is also "preparing" for presidential election in Russia in 2018, Peskov continued.

"In general we see that they started to prepare for our election as well. The presidential election in Russia are far away, more than two years away, but it looks like preparations have already started. It is clear that they are accumulating negative sentiment toward our head of state who is used to exert pressure and influence on future election campaign in Russia," the Kremlin spokesman explained.

"We do not traditionally talk about election two years in advance, without even knowing whether Putin intends to run for president or not. Anyway, they started some kind of a smear campaign in advance just in case," he said in response to a TASS question.

"Of course, this does not in any way mean that the Russian president made any decisions" on 2018 election, he said. "There is no need to make decisions now as it is too far away from election," Peskov added.

The decision may be made "when election campaign starts," he noted adding that "this is not on the agenda for now."

Personal opinion

TASS asked Peskov on whether the Russian president is aware of Washington’s accusations against him. "Of course, the president is familiar with those statements," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"He also considers them to be absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate for such high-ranking officials from the United States," he added.

As a press secretary, Peskov said he would never have made such accusations against a leader of a foreign country.

"This is an absolutely unacceptable statement from the point of view of general practice of international relations, a groundless (accusation)," he said. "This is so obvious that it is hard to analyze it," he added.

"It is impossible for us to imagine. If I had insulted the US president like this, I would have been fired," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Accusations of corruption

BBC published an investigation last week accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of corruption. Journalists based their claims on statements of US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin. The Kremlin said the statements represent "pure fiction and slander."

US White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday that Szubin’s statements on Putin’s alleged involvement in corruption reflect the view of the US Administration.

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