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Russian slams U.S. in a Facebook post for 'direct interference' in presidential election

US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. (MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

In a twist in the long-running story about Russia interfering with U.S. political affairs, Russia has now accused the U.S. of meddling in their election.

“And these people expressed outrage over alleged Russian ‘interference’ in their electoral process for an entire year?!” wrote a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman on Facebook.

What is Russia accusing the U.S. of?

The U.S. State Department expressed concern after Russia’s top electoral body barred Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from participating in the 2018 election against current President Vladmir Putin.

“These actions indicate the Russian government has failed to protect space in Russia for the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement from the State Department read. “More broadly, we urge the government of Russia to hold genuine elections that are transparent, fair and free and that guarantee the free expression of the will of the people, consistent with its international human rights obligation.”

Russia responds

“This statement by the U.S. Department of State, which I’m sure will not be the only one, is a direct interference into the electoral process and the state’s domestic affairs,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday.

“The funniest thing about it is that this statement was made by the same people who put the foreign agent label on RT and Sputnik, persecuted Russian media worldwide and invested vast sums in ‘countering Russian propaganda,’” she continued.

Why did they ban Navalny from running?

Navalny was barred from running due to criminal convictions, which some say are politically motivated charges levied as retaliation against Navalny’s anti-corruption campaigns.

The European Union voiced concern about the nature of the charges.

“Politically motivated charges should not be used against political participation,” said Maja Kocijancic, EU foreign affairs spokeswoman. “We expect the Russian authorities to ensure that there is a level playing field, including in the presidential elections.”

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