Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway US election: documents

Russian state TV anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov

Russian state TV anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov"The world is a hair's breadth away from a real nuclear war with all its

A Russian government think-tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 US presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters' faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former USA officials told Reuters.

Three current and four former officials allege that the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies produced two documents obtained by USA intelligence, Reuters reported.

Putin has repeatedly denied that his government had any hand in trying to determine the USA election. President Xi Jinping was "courageous" in isolating the Russians and Bolivians, who also voted against the measure, the security adviser said on ABC television on Sunday (Monday NZT).

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to say whether Kiselyov's views agreed with the Kremlin's, saying: "His position is close, but not every time".

The officials claim the framework for the election manipulation strategy was mapped out in two confidential documents from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, run by former Russian foreign intelligence officials.

Further, a former senior United States intelligence official quoted by Reuters said, "Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map".

Trump recently said that U.S. -Russia relations "may be at an all-time low", and that "right now we're not getting along with Russian Federation at all".

Trump's decision to launch a missile strike against Syria, a Russian ally, drop a giant bomb on Afghanistan, and stick with Obama-era policies on Crimea, mean Russian hopes of him befriending the Kremlin have been on the slide for a while. "He doesn't plan to attack anyone just for the sake of it", said Kiselyov, who was a cheerleader for state TV's strong anti-American tone under the Obama administration and once said Moscow could turn the USA into radioactive ash. The docs don't, however, mention the release of hacked Democratic Party emails, an operation that officials told Reuters was coordinated by a separate part of the Kremlin.

It was not immediately clear how the documents were obtained by US officials from the RISS.

The report said the think tank produced two documents. After Reshetnikov retired from the institute in January, Putin named Fradkov as his replacement.

Russian Federation and the USA clashed over President Donald Trump's decision to order missile strikes on Syria on April 7 in response to a chemical weapons attack blamed on the Syrian regime.

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