MOSCOW, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The Russian government was in touch with members of President-elect Donald Trump’s political team during the U.S. election campaign and knows most of his entourage, one of Russia’s most senior diplomats told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
Accused by defeated Democratic contender Hillary Clinton of being a puppet of President Vladimir Putin after praising the Russian leader, Trump has dismissed suggestions he had anything to do with the Russian government during the campaign.
But in comments that could prove politically awkward for the president-elect, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there had indeed been some communications.
“There were contacts,” Interfax cited Ryabkov as saying. “We are doing this and have been doing this during the election campaign.”
Such contacts would continue, he added, saying the Russian government knew and had been in touch with many of Trump’s closest allies. He did not name names.
“Obviously, we know most of the people from his (Trump’s) entourage. Those people have always been in the limelight in the United States and have occupied high-ranking positions,” he said.