Putin: ‘Patriotically-minded’ Russians may have hacked US elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that while individual Russians may have “hacked” the US elections in 2016, the Russian government had no role. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “patriotically-minded” Russians may have launched cyber-attacks in the US on their own initiative during the 2016 presidential election campaign last year, while addressing a number of senior editors from various international news agencies on Thursday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting,” Putin said. “The hackers are the same, they would wake up, read about something going on in interstate relations and if they are patriotically-minded, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia.”

Putin, however, stressed that the Russian government itself had no involvement in any cyber-attacks during the 2016 US election season.

“We’re not doing this on the state level,” he added.

Moreover he said that any influence there may have been from any hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign was likely inconsequential.

“I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign,” he said. “No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.”

Nevertheless, the US intelligence community and many Democrats have accused Russia of “hacking” the US presidential election process last year, specifically a number of e-mails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that point to alleged corruption within the Democratic party.

Unsurprisingly, Putin rejected the accusations made against Russia.

“I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack,” Putin suggested. “Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily.”

Back in December, not only did the Russian government deny allegations of interference in the US election process, but also Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks organization, which helped leak the countless DNC e-mails, said that Russia was not the source.

Putin also took the time on Thursday to say some positive words about his US counterpart Donald Trump, referring to him as “a straightforward person” and “a frank person.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News