Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russians with “patriotic leanings” could be behind cyberattacks which Russia has frequently been accused of.
Russian hackers have frequently been accused of compromising targets in the West, particularly fielding allegations of having helped Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to win during the 2016 US elections.
Speaking to international media in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked about allegations of Moscow-backed hackers trying to interfere in this year’s elections in Germany.
Putin flatly denied such accusations and compared hackers to artists. According to AP, he stated:
Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting. 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 Russia.
Putin also added that he was convinced, personally, that hackers could not or wouldn’t be able to affect election campaigns anywhere, be it the United States, Europe or elsewhere.
He also insisted that Moscow was working toward combating hackers, rather than sponsoring or backing them. Further, he adds that the Russian government is not involved in any hacking or cyberespionage.
On a state level, we haven’t been involved in this (hacking), we aren’t planning to be involved in it. Quite the opposite, we are trying to combat it inside our country.
Turning the tables around, Putin claimed he could “imagine” rivals of Russia to deliberately trying to smear his country, by staging “a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack.”
Putin’s denials continue a long line of denials from Moscow which has been alleged by the Obama administration of interfering in the US presidential elections by targeting and hacking emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
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