Russia’s Sergei Lavrov dubs US indictment over Russia meddling in election “just blabber”

The charges, stem from what Washington sees as a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 US presidential election.

Russia has repeatedly denied any effort to influence the US election.

Mr Lavrov said: “I don’t have a reaction because anything and everything can be published. We see how accusations, statements, are multiplying.

“So until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber.” 

Mr Lavrov was speaking to participants at the annual Munich Security Conference and said that even US Vice President Michael Pence and others had raised questions about the US. investigation.

The indictments — which include the first charges laid by US special counsel Robert Mueller for election interference — detailed a stunning operation launched in 2014.

Russia allegedly wanted to sow social division in the United States and influence American politics “including the presidential election of 2016”.

Mr Mueller alleges that by mid-2016, the campaign — under the direction of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — became focused on boosting Donald Trump and demeaning his rivals including Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It allegedly involved hundreds of people working in shifts and with a budget of millions of dollars. Three companies were also indicted.

Mr Mueller said that members of the group posed as US citizens on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, posting content that reached “significant numbers” of Americans.

The content was retweeted by the president’s two eldest sons Don Jr and Eric, as well as other top campaign officials and members of Mr Trump’s inner circle.

The indictments made no judgement however on whether the alleged Russian efforts had altered the outcome of the election.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had earlier rubbished Mueller’s allegations as “absurd”.

But US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, took to the stage in in Munich immediately after Mr Lavrov and said the “evidence” proved there was meddling.

He said such attempts to “interfere in our democratic process” would become harder to hide.

Mr McMaster said: “We’re becoming more and more adept at tracing the origins of this espionage and subversion, and as you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and in the public domain.” 

While in the past, investigators were wary of divulging their IT intelligence capabilities, Mr McMaster said. “now that this is in the arena of a law enforcement investigation, it’s going to be very apparent to everyone.”

He also argued that Russian authorities might begin to reconsider attempts to sway foreign elections, “because it’s just not working”.

He added that the efforts to “polarise our societies” and “pit Western societies against each other, all that has done has appealed to those big fringes while uniting all of our policies actually against Russia and Russian interference.” 

Mr Trump meanwhile has seized on the indictments as proof that his campaign team did not conspire with Moscow.

He tweeted: ”Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for president.” 

“The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

None of the 13 Russian suspects are in US custody.