Published On: Mon, Mar 11th, 2024

Russian spies accuse US of trying to meddle in Putin’s election | World | News

Russia’s foreign intelligence service has accused the United States of attempting to meddle in the country’s presidential election, just days before citizens head to the polls.

The SVR intelligence service, a successor agency of the KGB, claims Washington even had plans to carry out a cyber attack on the online voting system.

In a statement on Monday, the SVR said it had information that American President Joe Biden‘s administration had set out to meddle in the national vote, according to Russian state media.

“According to information received by the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, the administration of J. Biden is setting a task for American NGOs to achieve a decrease in turnout,” the agency was quoted as saying.

“With the participation of leading American IT specialists, it is planned to carry out cyber attacks on the remote electronic voting system, which will make it impossible to count the votes of a significant proportion of Russian voters,” it reportedly said.

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The denial came despite American findings that Russia orchestrated campaigns to influence the result of the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

Any Russian citizen over age 18 who is not in prison on a criminal conviction is permitted to vote.

There are 112.3 million eligible voters inside Russia and Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, and another 1.9 million eligible voters live abroad, according to The Central Election Commission.

It’s also the first presidential election to use online voting — the option will be available in 27 Russian regions and Crimea, which was illegally seized by Moscow from Ukraine 10 years ago.

The vote will also take place in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — the four regions annexed after the full-scale invasion in 2022, even though Russian forces don’t fully control them.

Kyiv and the West have denounced holding the vote there. Early voting has already started in some regions and will be gradually rolled out in others.

Turnout in Russia’s 2018 presidential election was 67.5 percent, though observers and individual voters reported widespread violations, including ballot-box stuffing and forced voting.

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