Comments about Russia may be misconstrued

The Straits Times' editorial on March 28, Post-Mueller, A New Start for Trump?, contains some ambiguous comments about Russia which can drive readers to erroneous conclusions.

Reading the article, one can get the wrong impression that, despite the results of the nearly two-year-long Mueller investigation which has not produced any proof of Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, Russia had nevertheless attempted to influence the outcome "through disinformation campaigns and malicious hacking operations''.

It has to be restated that since articles about the so-called "Russian interference" were first published around three years ago, Moscow has pointed out many times that they were trumped up stories.

We have repeatedly asked the US administration to provide evidence of Moscow's involvement in the infamous cyber attacks and other attempts to erode the American democracy - a charge that has been brought against Russia. But nobody, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has ever uncovered a single fact to support the allegations.

Moscow has long invited Washington to hold professional discussions on any issues regarding the alleged interference in the elections. We have more than once suggested relaunching the working group on cyber security, but the US has evaded our offer.

The anti-Russian card is regretfully more and more often played by different political forces in the West for their domestic gains. We have never interfered in the political processes of other countries and concurrently will not allow anyone to meddle in Russian political affairs either.

We hope that Washington will eventually muster the courage to officially admit that there was no collusion whatsoever and all the allegations about the Russian interference are nothing more than a defamation attempt designed to be used in US political fighting.

I believe it is important for The Straits Times, as a leading Singapore newspaper, to keep its readers accurately informed and to avoid remarks unsupported by facts about Russia or any other country.

Andrey Tatarinov

Ambassador of the Russian Federation Republic of Singapore

Editor's note: Our editorial referenced US Attorney-General William Barr's summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. The investigation determined there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election: One through disinformation and social media operations by a Russian organisation, the Internet Research Agency; the other through "Russian government actors" to obtain Clinton campaign and Democratic party e-mails and disseminate them through intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Mr Barr also notes that criminal charges related to hacking were brought against a number of Russian military officers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Comments about Russia may be misconstrued'. Print Edition | Subscribe