(JTA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Jews or other minorities might have been behind attempts to interfere in the 2016 American presidential elections.
In an interview with NBC News, Putin denied charges by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the elections, saying the 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies fingered in an indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller last month “do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”
“Maybe they’re not even Russians,” he said. “Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.”
The American Jewish Committee condemned Putin’s remarks.
“President Putin suggesting that Russian Federation minorities, be they Ukrainian, Tatar, or Jewish, were behind U.S. election is eerily reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He should clarify his comments at the earliest opportunity,” the AJC tweeted Saturday.