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U.S. president Donald Trump

The New York Times article alleging that Russia was offering cash to militants in Afghanistan for killing the troops of the US and their coalition allies is a “hit job”, US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

“This was just another phony hit job by the nytimes. They had no source, they made it up. Fake news!” Trump wrote.

He attached a link to a publication which says that “defense officials say Russian bounty info has not been corroborated.” On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at the hearing in the House Armed Services Committee, “It is the opinion of a number of intelligence entities, agencies, that could not corroborate the report.”

Trump again suggested that the Pulitzer awards should be taken back from the US newspapers that won it for covering his electoral headquarters’ alleged collusion with Russia, which were proved false.

“The ‘journalists’ who got them were all wrong. Take back the Pulitzers, which have become a joke!” he said.

On June 26, the New York Times published an article claiming that a Russian military intelligence unit allegedly secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition troops in Afghanistan. According to the daily, the intelligence finding was briefed to US President Donald Trump several months earlier, and the White House National Security Council (NSC) discussed the issue at an interagency meeting in late March.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called these allegations a lie and a “total hoax.”

On June 27, Russian Foreign Ministry labeled the initial publication on this issue as intentionally false. According to the Ministry, “that unpretentious fake news clearly illustrates low intellectual abilities of the US intelligence propagandists who have to come up with this nonsense instead of inventing something more credible.”

On June 28, Trump tweeted that the US intelligence labelled the reports of the alleged Russian attempts to offer bounty to the Afghan militants for assassination of US servicemen as false. Trump speculated that The New York Times, which published the initial report, could have published “another fabricated Russia Hoax,” in a bid to “make Republicans look bad.”

The Russian Supreme Court designated the Taliban movement as a terrorist group in 2003. The organization is outlawed on the territory of Russia.

Source: TASS, July 11, 2020