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Putin: US created doping allegations to sway next year's Russian presidential election

Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses U.S. of doping plot to sway Russian presidential election. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged Thursday that the U.S. invented the doping allegations against Russian athletes in an attempt to sway votes from the leader who's up for re-election next March.

"In response to our alleged interference in their election, they want to create problems for the election of the president of Russia," Putin said, according to Channel News Asia.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the allegations of Russian's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which Putin calls "imaginary interference," BBC News reported.

What's the story?

The International Olympic Committee announced Thursday that four Russian cross-country skiers are guilty of doping and the athletes are sanctioned from the sport. The investigation into the athletes was launched after a 2016 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency alleging state-sponsored doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015.

Putin, who denies all accusations of state-sponsored doping, hasn't confirmed whether he will run for re-election but if he does, he is expected to win. A win would extend his Kremlin term through 2024.

"Russia never had and, I hope, will never have a system of state doping of which we are being accused," Putin said Thursday following the IOC announcement.

The IOC decision came one day before the Russian president's scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump in Vietnam.

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