US Special Counsel Robert Mueller charges Russians for election meddling on social media

The office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for their role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The indictment claims that the individuals and organisations ‘had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election’. Among other accusations, Mueller’s office writes that the Russian individuals ‘[posed] as U.S. persons and [created] false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract audiences.’ The Russian individuals and organisations are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. A spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry denounced the allegations, claiming it is ‘absurd’ to think that thirteen Russian individuals would be able to undermine ‘the billions’ budgets of the secret services‘.