Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of wanting to stir trouble at Russia's presidential elections in retaliation for alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday.
Putin also said that allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia, which have seen several Russian athletes banned ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, seemed to be aimed at disrupting Russia's presidential vote in March.
The International Olympic Committee is now investigating the allegations and has banned six cross-country skiers for life from the Olympics over doping violations at Sochi.
Putin, widely expected to stand in and win the elections, also suggested the United States' influence in international sports organizations could be having a deleterious effect on Russia.
Putin said the United States was home to "the main companies that order and pay for television rights, the main sponsors and advertisers" of major sporting events.
"In retaliation for our alleged meddling in their election, they (the United States) want to create problems in the election of the president of Russia," Putin said.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now