Russia shrugs off promise of retaliation from US

Russia shrugs off promise of retaliation from US
© Getty

Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday dismissed the Obama administration's promises to respond to what it claims is a broad cyber campaign to interfere with the U.S. election system.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It's not worth, I believe, speculating,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with CNN. “If they decided to do something, let them do it.

“But to say that Russia is interfering in the United States' domestic matters is ridiculous."

Late last week, U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) publicly accused Russia of directing hacks at U.S. political organizations such as the Democratic National Committee.

The explosive charge was the first time the federal government has accused a foreign power of trying to influence an American election through cyberattacks.

“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and DHS said in a joint statement.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

On Tuesday, the White House vowed that it would make a “proportional” response to Russia, though spokesman Josh Earnest declined to detail what that might mean.

“There are a range of responses that are available to the president, and he will consider a response that’s proportional,” Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“It is unlikely that our response would be announced in advance. It's certainly possible that the president could choose response options that we never announce.”

The Russian government has dismissed the charges, which it claims is hysteria manufactured for political reasons.

“It's flattering, of course, to get this kind of attention — for a regional power, as President Obama called us some time ago now,” Lavrov said in the CNN interview, a needle at Obama’s 2014 description of Russia’s role in the world.

Russia has long been suspected to be the source of material released by WikiLeaks and other outlets, but analysts had speculated that the Obama administration delayed pointing the finger to avoid issuing a formal response.