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Indictments of 12 Russians meant to 'spoil' Putin-Trump summit: Moscow

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Matryoshka dolls depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Donald Trump are seen on sale at Izmailovo flea market in Moscow on July 13, 2018, three days before their summit in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by AFP)

Russia says the indictment of a dozen Russians for allegedly hacking the US Democratic Party in 2016 is meant to “spoil” the upcoming meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump.

“It is regrettable that spreading false information has become the norm in Washington, and indictments are based on openly political motives,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Friday, adding, “Obviously, the purpose of this is to spoil the atmosphere” ahead of the Putin-Trump summit slated to be held in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on Monday.

The statement came a few hours after US Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials on charges of hacking the computer networks of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her party to help Republican Trump.

The Russian ministry also blamed the “influential political forces of the United States, which oppose the normalization of [US-Russia] relations... and have been manufacturing blatant slander for two years.” It also described the whole case, which it said is supported by “no evidence,” as a “shameful comedy” whose purpose is to “disgrace” the US.

The Kremlin has time and again strongly denied that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. 

Mueller, a former FBI director, has been running a high-profile investigation into allegations that Trump won the 2016 US presidential election against Democratic rival Clinton only because Moscow had rigged the election in his favor.

US intelligence agencies claim Russia-linked hackers provided WikiLeaks with damaging information -- in the form of thousands of hacked emails -- about Clinton to skew the presidential vote in favor of Trump.

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russians and has condemned the investigations. Russian President Putin has also denied the allegations.

Despite the indictments, the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Friday that the Putin-Trump meeting “is still on.”

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