Putin: Russia doesn't hack but 'patriotic' individuals might

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected suggestions that elections anywhere could be manipulated by hackers, and denied that his government had ever done it or would do so.

Among those who have criticized Putin in the past is 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who questioned whether Russia's 2011 elections were "free, fair, transparent" and called for a "full investigation" of the election's irregularities while she was Secretary of State. But he implied that it would be patriotic for private Russian citizens to "start making contributions - which are right, from their point of view - to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia".

The subpoenas were announced Wednesday as the special counsel overseeing the government's investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation has approved former FBI Director James Comey testifying before the Senate intelligence committee, according to a Comey associate.

"No hackers can have a radical impact on an election campaign in another country", adding that "no information can be imprinted in voters' minds, in the minds of a nation, and influence the final outcome and the final result".

Putin further said that just because Russian Federation has a "special relationship" with India, it does not mean India should be restricted in having contacts with other "partnering countries".

"I can imagine that someone is doing this purposefully - building the chain of attacks so that the territory of the Russian federation appears to be the source of that attack", Mr Putin said.

Putin, however, stressed that the Russian government itself had no involvement in any cyber-attacks during the 2016 USA election season. This is quite easy to do with modern technology, he claimed. "No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America", he said.

"We will work together to step up joint efforts aimed at modernising infrastructure, explore ways to jointly respond to urbanisation challenges, address issues related to ensuring food security, preserving water and forest resources." the declaration said.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi had met President Putin and had spoken about the bilateral relations between both the countries.

Mass anti-government protests broke out in Russian Federation shortly thereafter, which Putin has blamed largely on Clinton's comments.

Russia's relations with the West have been at post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis.

He said the Russia-India Strategic Partnership was a pillar of strength and their partnership will be an important factor in stability in the world.

Russia has never engaged in hacking at the "state level, " Putin said at the Konstantinovsky Palace, adding that some computer attacks may be camouflaged to make them look like Russians were behind them. The U.S. and the European Union have slapped Moscow with sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

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