Moscow: The Russian foreign ministry on Friday dismissed as "absurd" the indictments of 13 Russians by the United States for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US presidential race.
"Thirteen people carried out interference in the US elections? Thirteen against the billion-dollar budgets of the special forces? Against the espionage and counter-espionage, against the newest developments and technologies?", foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.
"Absurd? Yes. But this is the modern American political reality," she added, in the first official reaction from Moscow.
The businessman who tops the list of those indicted, Yevgeny Prigozhin, also made light of the indictments in comments to RIA Novosti state news agency.
"Americans are very impressionable people. They see what they want to see. I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am in this list. If they want to see a devil, let them," he said.
Prigozhin is nicknamed President Vladimir Putin's "chef" by Russian media and runs a company that has catered for Kremlin receptions. He has been photographed with the strongman and his company Konkord is subject to US sanctions.
He has been linked by Russian media to a "troll factory" in Saint Petersburg working to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda online. He has denied meddling in US politics.