Vladimir Putin was 'really clear' with Obama when confronted over US election hack

US is preparing to retaliate against Russia over alleged interference in the presidential election

Jon Sharman
Saturday 17 December 2016 18:18
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US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave "a really clear response" when Barack Obama cornered him at September's G20 summit and told Mr Putin to "cut it out" following allegations that Russia conducted cyber attacks against the United States, the Kremlin has said.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said Mr Putin had explained Russia's stance on the issue to Mr Obama, Russia's Tass news agency reported.

"There was a tete-a-tete conversation and different themes were discussed," Mr Ushakov was quoted as saying.

"This theme was touched upon. A really clear reply was given by our side which perhaps did not fit with what Obama was trying to explain to us."

Three US officials said on Thursday that Mr Putin had supervised his intelligence agencies' hacking of the US presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump.

Mr Obama told reporters during his last ever end-of-year press conference: "What I was concerned about in particular was making sure [the hack of the Democratic National Convention] wasn't compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself."

He also claimed that his conversation prevented any further hacking against his country’s election infrastructure.

"So in early September when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn't. And in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process—but the leaks... had already occurred," Mr Obama said.

He has also warned that the US will retaliate against the hacks.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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