Russian President Vladimir Putin likely directed efforts to try to swing the 2020 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump, according to an American intelligence report released on Tuesday that sources said would likely trigger U.S. sanctions on Moscow.
Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week because of the allegations, three sources said on condition of anonymity.
Russia accused the West on Wednesday of descending into hysteria over the jailing of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and the Kremlin said police had been right to use force to break up protests over his imprisonment.
Navalny’s supporters tried to gather to show support during the ruling and then took to the streets afterwards to protest it, prompting authorities to shut down some central metro stations and detain more than 1,400 people.
The report alleges that the 17,691 square metre mansion sits on a property 39 times the size of Monaco and features a casino hall, along with a theatre and a hookah lounge complete with a pole-dancing stage.
The investigation, which Navalny endorsed, said it had identified a team of assassins from Russia’s FSB security service, who had stalked him for years. It named the intelligence officers and poison laboratories it said were behind the operation.
“It’s a trick to attack the leaders (of Russia),” says Putin.