Russia | Putin says Moscow has never been involved in hacking


President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that patriotic Russian hackers may have staged cyber attacks against countries that had strained relations with Moscow on their own initiative, but said the Russian state had never been involved in such hacking.

Putin was responding to a question about possible Russian meddling in upcoming federal elections in Germany, after US officials accused the Kremlin of interfering in the 2016 presidential vote to help Donald Trump win. "The hackers are the same, they would wake up, read about something going on in interstate relations and if they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russian Federation".

Speaking at Thursday's meeting with senior editors of the world's leading news agencies, Putin said Russian Federation had been encouraged by Trump's campaign statements in which he lamented Russia-U.S. ties being at a historical low and promised to improve them.

"(Artists) may act on behalf of their country, they wake up in good mood and paint things.

"I'm certain that no hackers can influence an electoral campaign in another country".

But he categorically insisted that "we don't engage in that at the state level".

Describing the 70 years of relationship between Russian Federation and India as a story of trust, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the two countries were looking to further boost their defence, economic and political cooperation. He said that one can not "be a friend to someone you don't know". "No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America". "Modern technologies allow to do that kind of thing - it's rather easy to do".

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The aim was to "establish an atmosphere that is going to prevent us from addressing common issues, say with regard to terrorism", he claimed.

"Putin stopped short of calling Trump a friend, however".

President Vladimir Putin has expressed regret that anti-Russian sentiments in the USA have prevented cooperation on fighting terrorism.

He said they found no trace that the Russian hacking group known as APT28, blamed for other attacks including on the USA presidential campaign, was responsible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the ties between India and Russian Federation that span the spectrum from Culture to Defence (Sanskriti se Suraksha) and said India welcomes Russia's unconditional support to India on the issue of cross border terrorism.

Russian Federation and India enjoyed a decades-long alliance forged during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was New Delhi's largest trading partner, diplomatic ally and main arms supplier, providing everything from tanks to aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday claimed that the country has never indulged in hacking any election, and will never do so in the future either. The U.S. and the European Union have slapped Moscow with sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.