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Lavrov: U.S. Meddling Charges 'Claptrap'; McMaster Says 'Incontrovertible'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Munich on February 16.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Munich on February 16.

MUNICH, Germany -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he has no reaction to U.S. indictments on alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections, calling the accusations nothing but "claptrap" until Moscow sees the facts in the case.

But U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 17 after Lavrov's remarks there, said the FBI indictments show Russian meddling in the U.S. election is beyond dispute.

"We are 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."

Lavrov made his "claptrap" remark during a question-and-answer session following his February 17 speech at the Munich event.

A day earlier, Washington announced charges against several Russian citizens and firms accused of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies, including one widely referred to as an Internet “troll factory," over the alleged meddling.

“I have no response,” Lavrov said, adding: “Until we see the facts, everything else is just claptrap.”

In his speech, Lavrov delivered a laundry list of Russia’s grievances against the West, including what he called the European Union’s support of a “coup d’etat” against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin ally.

Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014 following months of street protests that swept in a pro-Western government.

Russia proceeded to seize Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and back armed separatists in eastern Ukraine, triggering Western sanctions.

Lavrov’s speech followed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s fiery address to the Munich conference the previous day in which he denounced what he called a Russian “global hybrid war.”

Lavrov on February 17 dismissed the idea of a “global Russian threat” as a “myth.”

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