June 1, 2020 / 1:05 PM / a month ago

Kremlin rejects idea floated by Obama-era security advisor it stoked U.S. protests

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Monday rejected accusations it had played any role in protests rocking the United States, after former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice raised the possibility of Russian involvement.

Unrest has swept U.S. cities since last week, after peaceful protests over the death of a black man in the custody of a white police officer turned violent. On Saturday Rice told CNN that fostering violence at protests was “right out of the Russian playbook”.

“We see it all the time, we’ve seen it for years and frankly every day on social media where they take any painful divisive issue....and they play on both sides,” she said. “Their aim is to divide us, to cause us to come into combat with each other, and to disintegrate from within.”

“I would not be surprised to learn they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they are funding it in some way, shape or form and that’s something that we need to take seriously.”

Asked about Rice’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We have never interfered in international affairs and we don’t intend to interfere now.”

“Any insinuations that have been mentioned are absolutely wrong, erroneous, and, as far as we understand, such insinuations can in no way reflect Washington’s official position,” said Peskov.

Russia has previously denied U.S. allegations it meddled in the 2016 presidential election to try to help Donald Trump get elected and says it is keen to try to rebuild battered ties with Washington.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Peter Graff

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