President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. allegations that Russian hackers or the government itself were behind a string of cyberattacks in the U.S. were "farcical," and challenged the U.S. government to produce proof that Russians or Moscow were involved.
"We have been accused of all kinds of things," Putin said in an exclusive interview with NBC News. "Election interference, cyberattacks and so on and so forth. And not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof. Just unfounded accusations."
In April, the Biden administration imposed sanctions on six Russian technology companies that provide support to the cyber program run by Putin's intelligence services, along with dozens of other Russian entities and individuals, for the massive SolarWinds hack of federal agencies and interference in the 2020 U.S. election, which U.S. intelligence assessed was personally ordered by Putin.
Putin also denied ordering a hit on political rival Alexei Navalny, who survived being poisoned with a nerve agent, but could did not guarantee that the jailed Kremlin critic would get out of prison alive.