Russian President Vladimir Putin is dismissing the latest U.S. claims that the Kremlin has directed cyberattacks against Washington, as well as scoffing at U.S. threats to retaliate for any Russian attempts to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections.
Putin spoke Sunday in India at a televised news conference, calling the hacking allegations an effort to distract Americans from "lots of problems" facing their country.
Putin's comments come less than two days after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that "we are sending a message" to Putin. He told NBC news on Friday that U.S. retaliation for Russian cyberattacks "will be at the time of our choosing, and under circumstances that will have the greatest impact."
"You can expect anything from our American friends," Putin said Sunday. He also claimed it is already widely known that "official bodies in the United States are spying and eavesdropping on everyone."
Putin's latest comments also follow a joint U.S. statement October 7 in which the U.S. director of National Intelligence and the chief of the Department of Homeland Security formally accused Moscow of hacking U.S. political organizations.
Those accusations referenced hacking into internal email accounts at the Democratic National Committee, and further accused Moscow of orchestrating the release of information in the hacked accounts through the rogue anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
On Sunday, Putin said, "I would like to reassure everyone, including our U.S. partners and friends: We do not intend to influence the U.S. election campaign."
The Kremlin was first linked to U.S. political hacking in July, after the campaign staff of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton accused Moscow of hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Many Western analysts and pundits have since accused the Kremlin of favoring Republican candidate Donald Trump in the November elections, and point to Trump's repeated comments praising Putin and calling for closer bilateral ties.