Putin: Russian doping scandals could be U.S. election meddling

Posted November 10, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of inventing doping allegations against Russian athletes in an attempt to influence next year's presidential election.

U.S. spy chiefs reportedly told 21 states that they were targeted by Putin's hackers before the 2016 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 is a strong suspicion that this is all happening in order to create a situation useful to some, one of disappointment for sports followers and sportsmen in which the state allegedly participated in violations".

Last week, Russian cross-country skier Alexander Legkov was stripped of his Olympic 50-kilometre title after the IOC found him guilty of doping.

The United States and Russian Federation are nearing an agreement on arrangements for Syria as the Islamic State group nears defeat.

"It is a large body of ties and dependencies", he said.

Any meeting would come as a dark cloud looms over Washington, where a number of current and former Trump officials are being investigated for their links to Russian Federation, as well as the possibility of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Friday's gathering of the two leaders on the sidelines of the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation will be their second face-to-face encounter this year since a G-20 summit in July in Hamburg, Germany.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday told reporters that the meeting could take place, but that details were still being worked out. The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of doping.

By portraying the doping scandal as a conspiracy of anti-Russian forces, with the United States in the lead, Putin might be hoping to turn Russians anger from the Kremlin to the usual enemies in the West.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meanwhile, said that such a meeting was "still under consideration".

Putin has not yet revealed whether he will run for the March election but as the clear favourite is widely expected to try to extend his Kremlin term for another six years. "If the Americans want to steal the elections, true Russians should organize and go to vote for Putin - this seems to be the hidden message of the accusations".