MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted on Tuesday that there was no evidence of his country’s alleged interference in the United States’ presidential elections.
Lavrov was reacting to Monday’s unsealing of two indictments by a US federal court of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief, and his ex-business partner Rick Gates as part of an investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials allegedly meddling with the 2016 presidential election.
“We are accused of interfering not only in US elections but also in those of other countries without one piece of evidence,” he said, adding that “there is no limit to fantasy.”
He denounced that recently, Moscow had been accused of deciding what ministers were to be named in South Africa.
On Monday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the accusations against Manafort were false, pointing out that in his indictment, former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko was confused with Yulia Tymoshenko.
Manafort was forced to resign in August 2016 after it was revealed that he had received $12.7 million while acting as a consultant for Yushchenko’s political rival and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian politician who was ousted during the 2014 Euromaidan demonstrations which sought to distance Ukraine from Russia and bring it closer to the European Union.
Investigators had been targeting Manafort, who worked as a lobbyist, for months and the FBI searched his house in July.
Manafort and Gates are facing a dozen charges, including conspiring against the US and money laundering, and are currently under house arrest pending trial.