Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of seeking to meddle in the upcoming Russian election, saying the American government is looking to retaliate for mounting evidence that Moscow played a role in swaying the 2016 U.S. election that brought President Donald Trump into office, according to reports.
Putin, in rare comments on the accusation of meddling in the U.S. election, was quoted as saying that the U.S. is seeking to "create problems" ahead of the next Russian presidential election.
"In response to our alleged interference in their [U.S.] election they want to create problems during the election of the Russian president," Putin was quoted as saying in Russian state-controlled media Thursday.
The comments come as U.S. lawmakers continue an investigation into Russia's possible interference in the 2016 election and its alleged role in working with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee to promulgate controversial, unverified claims about Trump.
Putin additionally claimed that charges Moscow has supported the use of illicit drugs in the upcoming Olympic Games is meant to undermine Moscow’s elections.
"That's what worries me: the Olympic Games should start in February, and we have presidential elections in March," Putin reportedly said.
"There are very big suspicions that all this is being done to create an atmosphere of discontent among sports fans and athletes that is necessary for someone, that the state was allegedly implicated in violations and it is responsible for this," Putin told workers of the Chelyabinsk compressor plant.
Putin's remarks come amid efforts by lawmakers of the House Intelligence Committee to determine why the Obama administration requested hundreds of highly classified documents on American citizens tied to the Trump campaign. These so-called unmaskings have fueled accusations that the former administration aimed to undermine Trump ahead of the election.