Russian President Vladimir Putin has commented on the Washington accusations of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.
Putin said last month the United States had put indirect pressure on the International Olympic Committee to block Russian Federation from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. "There are very strong suspicions that all that is done because someone needs to create an atmosphere of discontent among sports fans and athletes over the state's alleged involvement in violations and responsibility for it".
He was referring to life bans imposed by Olympic officials on four Russian cross-country skiers on Thursday.
These statements come amid an ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, started after Donald Trump's victory, despite the fact that Moscow has repeatedly denied any interference in the election, calling the claims "groundless" and "absurd".
"Russia never had and, I hope, will never have a system of state doping of which we are being accused". "And the controlling interest is in the United States, because major companies contracting and paying for television broadcasting rights, major sponsors, major advertisers are there".
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, confirmed yesterday that a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang, Vietnam was on the cards.
An ongoing Washinton probe has accused Trump's former campaign aides of secretly meeting Kremlin-connected officials, and this week the "Paradise Papers" revealed Trump's commerce secretary Wilbur Smith had financial ties with Russian Federation. It could take place either tomorrow or on Saturday.
Tillerson briefed USA reporters after Trump'smeetings.
Both Trump and Putin will be in attendance representing their respective nations, but it is unknown if they will have a formal one-to-one discussion.
Putin has not announced whether he will run for another term in the March 18 election.