A war of words has erupted between Moscow and Washington with the Russian prime minister accused the White House of encouraging protests against his government.
Vladimir Putin’s opponents claim the outcome of the recent general election, which he won, was rigged, and both international observers and the US have expressed concerns about the vote.
He directed his criticism at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“She set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work,” he said.
There’s a heavy military presence on the streets of Moscow after several days of protest in the city and elsewhere. The anti-Kremlin rallies have been among the biggest ever seen the capital. Hundreds of people have been arrested and there are new accusations of a clampdown on online media.
But there have also been pro-Putin demonstrations and he remains on course to win the presidential election in March.