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Putin says doping allegations are US plot against Russia presidential election

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Putin says doping allegations are US plot against Russia presidential election

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Ahead of sharing a stage with President Trump at the Apec summit in Vietnam, Vladimir Putin accused the US of inventing doping allegations against Russian athletes.

He said the move was aimed at sowing discontent ahead of the Russian presidential election next year, a poll Putin is widely expected to win.

The Russian president’s comments came after Olympic officials on Thursday banned four Russian cross-country skiers for life following doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has accused Russia of running a state-sponsored system of doping, something Moscow denies.

Visiting a factory in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk Putin said: “There are major suspicions they want to create problems in our presidential poll in retaliation for our alleged meddling in their election. If it is the case, it’s very bad as it undermines the very idea of the Olympic movement.”

American officials are currently investigating alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

Earlier this year, US intelligence agencies claimed the Kremlin had interfered in the poll to help Donald Trump win.

In total, six Russian cross-country skiers have been given life-time Olympic bans. Russia is also barred from competing in international athletics events.