Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the USA of inventing doping allegations against Russian athletes in an attempt to influence next year's presidential election. "It will be on November 10", Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Russia's official TASS news agency.
Putin says "in response to our alleged interference in their elections, they want to create problems during the election of the president of Russian Federation". With fewer than 100 days before the beginning of the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the International Olympic Committee has still not made a decision about whether to let the country that hosted the 2014 Games participate.
The Russian president suggested the timing of the Russian election, in March 2018, meant that a doping scandal coinciding with the run-up to next February's Winter Olympics in South Korea could be used to sow disaffection among sportspeople.
He was referring to life bans imposed by Olympic officials on four Russian cross-country skiers on Thursday. Russian Federation has denied any state-sponsored system of doping. He says "and the controlling stake is in the United States", where sponsors and television broadcasters are concentrated.
Trump's election inspired hopes here of improved relations with Washington, but that optimism has vanished amid the USA inquiries into the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 campaign.
The two world leaders will meet as part of talks for the annual APEC Summit, which brings leaders of Pacific nations together to discuss trade. The Russian official claimed the meeting will take place on "the tenth" but the White House has not yet confirmed the exact date. The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of doping.
Tillerson briefed US reporters after Trump's meetings.
"President Putin is ready for that and the Americans know that".
Mr Putin said the move was a USA response to "imaginary interference in their election".