Clinton says backs rights of Russian people
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the United States backs Russian rights and hopes for a better future, after Moscow accused her of stirring up post-election protests.
"We expressed concerns that we thought were well-founded about the conduct of the elections," Clinton told a press conference in Brussels after talks between NATO allies and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We are supportive of the rights and aspirations of the Russian people to be able to make progress and to realise a better future for themselves, and we hope to see that unfold in the years ahead," she said.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the United States of provoking the post-election protests in Russia that have posed a surprise challenge to his decade-long era of domination.
Harking back to the rhetoric of the Cold War, Putin accused Clinton of deliberately sending a signal to the opposition to protest by questioning the fairness of Sunday's parliamentary election.
Around 1,000 people have been arrested in three days of protests in Moscow alleging mass fraud in the polls, but defiant organisers have vowed to stage a mass demonstration in the Russian capital at the weekend.
Earlier this week, Clinton voiced "serious concerns" about Russia's election and called for the allegations of fraud and vote-rigging to be investigated.
© 2011 AFP