Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin was put on the spot on Friday over alleged Russian hacking of the US presidential election.
Putin was grilled at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum by NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly.
The American moderator confronted him head on with claims that Moscow meddled to help Donald Trump.
“Mr Putin, this week you told a French newspaper that Russia is being accused of interfering with US elections by people that lost that election, who don’t want to admit defeat,” Kelly said in front of an audience of Russian and international business people.
“But all 17 US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians did interfere with our election and these are non-partisan career professionals.”
“I’ve read those reports,” Putin replied.
“And even in those reports, there’s nothing concrete – only assumptions and conclusions based on assumptions. That’s it.”
“This type of disinformation campaign is intentionally difficult to find hardcore proof of,” Kelly said.
“It’s other factors. And what the experts say is that this couldn’t have been faked, that it’s not one factor – that it’s 100 factors that point to Russia.”
Putin however was indignant.
“The problem is not us, the problem is in US internal politics. Trump’s campaign staff, Trump’s team was more effective during the election campaign. Sometimes I myself thought he was exaggerating. It’s true. But it turned out that he was right. He found a way to reach those groups in the population, those groups of voters he was betting on. And they came out and voted for him.”
Hard talking on current affairs didn’t stop humour in the debate.
Quizzed on climate change, Putin insisted a common approach was possible despite Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris pact.
“Don’t worry, be happy,” he said.