Putin tells NBC: US hackers could have framed Russia in election hack

Kelly, who made her NBC News debut Thursday with an appearance on the "Today" show, reported from St. Petersburg.

Touching on tensions in the Pacific, Putin said Russia's military deployments on a group of Pacific islands also claimed by Japan have been caused by concerns about the USA military buildup in the region.

United States intelligence agencies have accused Mr Putin of ordering a hacking and influence campaign to tilt last year's election in favour of Republican Donald Trump, after the billionaire pledged to boost ties with Moscow. He maintained that IP addresses linked to Russian hackers could have easily been rigged.

Although he continued to deny his country's role in election meddling on Friday, he proclaimed during the forum that hacking is so easy, Kelly's "underage daughter" could do it. "That is not proof", Putin replied. CNBC reported that Putin said "this hysteria" about Trump and Russian Federation "never seems to stop" and asked if a "pill" existed to stop the hysteria.

Mr Putin poured scorn on the allegations.

"We didn't do this. Stop this!" he said during the interview.

Putin further slammed American Democratic politicians for their failure to acknowledge their mistakes in the campaign and "taking internal U.S. political squabbles into the worldwide arena".

Putin also said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "is an instrument of USA foreign policy that is "getting closer" to Russia's borders".

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, Putin also questioned Trump's call for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to increase their military spending. He also used the spotlight to intensify his rejection of allegations by US intelligence agencies that Kremlin-backed hackers interfered in the 2016 election.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go", Trump told Comey, according to the memo.

"NATO was established as a Cold War instrument in the fight against the Soviet Union. there is no longer any. So, Al-Qaeda was at some point created to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and then Al-Qaeda hit the United States on September 11", Putin pointed out. "The question is, what for?" he asked Kelly.

In the clip, Kelly asks Putin about Russia's purported attempts to influence the 2016 election.

Putin added that there is a specific fear of the possibility of those areas to turn into models to divide the country in the future.

During the Friday event, Putin also referred to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance as "an instrument of U.S. foreign policy", pointing out that a lack of "constructive dialogue" with the organization impedes joint efforts on fighting terrorism.

  • Leroy Wright