Russia Will Be Blamed Whoever Wins the U.S. Election, Ambassador Says

Russia's ambassador to the U.K. has claimed that Moscow will be blamed for the outcome of the U.S. presidential election regardless of the result, amid concerns that the Kremlin is once again seeking to sway the vote.

Ambassador Andrei Kelin told Russia's Tass state news agency on Thursday that he expects a "coordinated campaign" to accuse Moscow of meddling in the U.S. election.

Russian diplomats have previously tried to dodge blame for meddling in Western elections—including the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S.—by alleging Russophobia.

Lawmakers and intelligence officials have warned that Moscow is again seeking to sway the 2020 election away from Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, as it did against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Kelin on Wednesday painted Russia as the victim of disinformation efforts. "I have a feeling that this is a coordinated campaign that will unfold in several waves," he said.

"It is a support act Washington now needs, a social put-up job ahead of the upcoming elections to keep on placing all the blame on Russia in a bid to excuse whatever happens in America by Russia's actions."

"So, it is quite expectable that Russia will be held to blame in case the Republicans lose the race. Likewise, it will be blamed by the Democrats if they lose," Kelin said.

Russia has been accused of multiple disinformation or hacking efforts this week. The FBI is currently probing whether Moscow was involved in reports claiming compromising emails were recovered from a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.

The U.S. also this week brought charges against six members of the Russian Sandworm military intelligence hacking unit, who are accused of launching cyberattacks against Russian rivals around the world.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe then said Wednesday that Russia had obtained U.S. voter registration information, though did not say whether Moscow had used the data nor what the purpose of taking it was.

American officials have warned that Russia is trying to undermine the Democrats in the coming election. FBI Director Christopher Wray last month warned that Moscow was seeking to "denigrate" Biden ahead of the election.

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in August that Russia "is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia 'establishment'."

"This is consistent with Moscow's public criticism of him when he was vice president for his role in the Obama administration's policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia," Evanina added.

Though the Kremlin has tried to undermine Democrats in recent elections, experts and intelligence officials say that Russia wants chaos in the U.S. rather than any particular party or candidate to win.

Russia routinely seeks to malign democracies worldwide and pulls at the seams of alliances and blocs it considers a threat, for example NATO and the European Union. It has also spread disinformation to amplify social divisions in rival nations, including during the recent Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S.

David Porter, an assistant section chief with the FBI's Foreign Influence Task Force, told the Associated Press in February: "Russia wants to watch us tear ourselves apart."

Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Russia, election, blame
A Trump supporter's home is pictured on August 11, 2020 in Olyphant, Pennsylvania. ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images/Getty