Putin: Jews, Ukrainians 'with Russian citizenship' could be behind US election meddling

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in a new interview that people with different ethnicities who hold Russian citizenship could be behind interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Putin told NBC News in an interview that the U.S. was refusing to work with Russia on cybersecurity and “instead throws 13 Russians to the media.”

“Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked,” Putin said.

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“Maybe they have dual citizenship or a green card, maybe the U.S. paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know, either,” he added.

Israeli lawmaker Ksenia Svetlova quickly called on Israel to condemn Putin’s “harsh” comments, saying that "if Israel does not defend the Jewish people, no one will, according to Haaretz.

"Maybe the Jews meddled in the U.S. elections. Maybe the Jews rule the world, maybe the Jews slaughtered Jews in Poland – all of these claims have one root cause – a hatred of Jews," Svetlova said.

Putin said during the interview that he “couldn’t care less” if Russians had interfered in the U.S. election, claiming those indicted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE weren’t connected to the Kremlin.

"So what if they're Russians?" Putin said. "There are 146 million Russians. So what? ... I don't care. I couldn't care less ... They do not represent the interests of the Russian state."

Mueller last month brought charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for interfering in the 2016 election, which represented the first charges related to Russia's election meddling as part of the probe.