the trans pacific partnership. it's a decisive shift in america's dealings with the rest of the world. the deal negotiated by the obama administration was never ratified. mr trump said the move was "great for the american worker. mr trump said the move was great for the american worker. and this story is trending on bbc.com. the world health organization has warned about the growing number of cases of bird flu. different strains have been spreading across asia and europe, leading to large scale slaughtering. and this story is trending on bbc.com. three puppies have been discovered alive five days after an avalanche hit a hotel in central italy. it's raised hopes that some of the 22 people still missing may be found in the ruins of the mountain hotel in abruzzo. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now it's time for hardtalk. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk from moscow.
i'm stephen sackur. according to us intelligence chiefs the kremlin ran a covert operation aimed to influence the us presidential election in favour of donald trump. if they did, it worked, but was it really so? what is the truth behind the swirl of allegations? and what now for russia—us relations? well, i'm going to the kremlin to meet vladimir putin's spokesman, dmitry peskov. is he triumphant or cautious? dmitry peskov, welcome to hardtalk. dmitry peskov, welcome to hardtalk.
do you care that a host of western intelligence agencies have accused your government of sophisticated, covert operations, dirty tricks, meddling in their internal politics, do you care? you mean cyber attacks? cyber attacks, not just that, but cyber attacks have been one very big part of it. let's talk about the united states first of all. yes. we have to be very precise in wording. you're speaking about secret services and special services of the major states. we're speaking about only the united states of america and some retired gentlemen who used to work in mi6 or mi5, i don't know exactly, from great britain. the rest of special services in european countries, they have never accused russia of interfering into somewhere, they have just started to feel uncomfortable,
at the same front of allegations... that's not strictly true. what you've said isn't strictly true. bruno khal, chief of germany's foreign intelligence agency, said this, "cyber attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty here in germany. the indications show the attacks come from russia. there is evidence that this is at least tolerated or desired by the state. again, accusations that have nothing beneath. we don't have any proof for those blamings. it is interesting that you began by saying it's only the united states. but it's clearly not only the united states. well, the whole story started from the united states. the whole hysteria is being pumped up by the united states public opinion, united states media.
it's very emotional hysteria. you know, sometimes it is even, it comes quite ridiculous to us to watch this hysteria. james clapper, the director of national intelligence in the us says that the evidence is there with a very high degree of certainty. admittedly we haven't seen the evidence because the key evidence has been redacted. but what he says is this, "i do not think, based on the evidence, that we have ever encountered a more aggressive, a more direct campaign to interfere in our election process. that's at your door, and indeed, you — dmitry peskov — have been accused of being one of the key architects of this campaign. well, it's a great honour for me to be so sophisticated! i'm not that sophisticated in cyber business. this is not the truth. number one. number two, every day we have
hundreds and thousands of cyber attacks against our digital systems in the russian federation. some of them are coming from the territory of the united states. dozens are am coming from the territory of germany. dozens are coming from great britain. do you think that it means with a high state of certainty that those attacks against our digital systems are being promoted by the governments in washington, in london or in berlin? no. you would probably say no. it's out of the question. i'm more interested in what you think. what do you think? we think that it has nothing to do with the governments. although, we also have some evidence that some foreign special services might stand behind some very,
very tense attacks against our banks and against our, well, our official websites. are you trying to tell me that the russian actions in the united states, in germany, we believe in britain too, according to our intelligence agencies, are they retaliation? no. there are no actions. neither russian government nor kremlin nor president putin personally, nor military intelligence stand behind those attacks, if they really exist. that is a very clear position you've just taken. now, the united states congress is going to over the next few weeks and months conduct a very serious investigation of all these allegations of russian cyber hacking. they are going to use subpoenas.
we may well find a lot more very specific information. if it turns out that they have convincing evidence that russia, the kremlin, was involved in authorising those attacks, you are going to be very badly exposed, aren't you? of course. i'm carrying responsibility for saying that. i'm not an irresponsible person and working as a press secretary of president putin, i work in kremlin and am responsible for my words. so, should there be any evidence, should there be any proof, then it will be my responsibility. it should be either proved or it should be dismissed. how disturbed were you when donald trump appeared to say, just a few days ago, that he now believes russia is responsible for the hacking of the dnc e—mails? president—elect was briefed by his special services. we do not know what exactly was presented to him
during those briefings. what we had access to was the public part of the report. you would probably have read that. i've read the public part. as i said, we don't know what redacted parts include. yes, public part was quite vague. you would probably agree with me. it was based on assumptions, not on evidence. so let's wait and see. on the hacking, john mccain, and a bunch of republican, democratic senators... democratic senators... great admirer of my country. perhaps not the greatest admirer right now. he has said and they have said that they're going to push forward what they're calling countering russian hostilities act 2017. they are going to push for an expansion of sanctions
against russia, specifically targeting those they believe responsible for the hacking. how will you respond if that legislation, if that expansion of sanctions goes through? so, this is quite an unprecedented act. what is being done by the going president obama, by renewing the sanctions against russia, without waiting until the period of the existing one expires, and with the new law, with the new law coming. so they are trying to limit the capacity, to limit the presidency of trump. they're trying to push him into the way of bad relationship with moscow. they say, you don't have a possibility to move. you don't have a possibility to choose your own position. you will follow our way. which brings me to the most important question today,
around the world, but particularly concerning your relationship with the united states. do you believe president donald trump will bring with him a fundamental change, a fundamental shift in the relationship between washington and moscow? unfortunately, we cannot believe. what we can do is we can express our hope. we want to have a good relationship with america. we believe that we cannot solve lots of problems in this world and in our region, that are endangering our country without cooperation with the americans. that's why we desperately need a good relationship with washington. but it takes two to tango. what will be the approach by president trump, this is the question. we speak on the eve of the inauguration. will you and your boss, president putin, be popping the champagne corks when you watch the inauguration of president trump? well, you know, we are
preoccupied these days. we have our christian holiday called baptising, so we are preoccupied with swimming in the ice cold water. that's why our agenda is a little bit different. let's allow ourselves to think what it means in greater detail. donald trump has talked about his admiration for vladimir putin, calls him a smart guy. but getting away from the positives, looking at perhaps a more realistic agenda, some of his key nominees for the top posts — that of secretary of state, secretary of defence — they have said clearly they still regard russia as the most important threat. the defence secretary nominee says he still believes that russia poses a severe threat to europe's security and to nato. listen, you cannot leave and you cannot develop yourself as a personality in one environment and all of a sudden come
to a different conclusion. you are a child of your environment. environment in the united states currently is very hostile towards russia. so we understand those statements. we do not expect president trump and his administration to agree with us, even to agree with us even on the majority of problems. but we want to believe that they will be ready to talk to us. so, we want to be able to convey our message to washington. we want washington to be able to convey their message to us by explaining why, what exactly, how, when and with whom. if we don't know that, we feel ourself endangered. donald trump prides himself as a deal maker.
he's begun to indicate there might be deals to be done. for example, he suggested to the times newspaper the other day that perhaps he would consider easing sanctions on russia if russia was prepared to talk seriously about reducing its nuclear arsenal as part of a new round of talks. are you interested, here in russia, in that sort of approach? it's a little bit different dimensions. different pillars in our relationship. sanctions is one thing. russia will not ever initiate discussing of the issue. on ukraine, which is the reason why the sanctions sit there, your position on ukraine appears unchanging. what the west wants to see, we don't know whether donald trump wants to see it, what the west generally wants to see is you, finally, make every effort
to implement that minsk peace agreement and stop your support for the separatists in eastern ukraine. the problem is that we are not the country who is going to, who should implement minsk agreement. we are the country that should guarantee the implementation, together with the french and with the germans. minsk agreement should be implemented by kiev and the guys from donbass. and minsk agreement is not something vague. the guys from donbass just take your instructions, so why don't you go along and instruct them on what you want? we enjoy some influence, but we cannot ask them to die. there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of a very early summit meeting between mr putin and soon—to—be
president trump. is it going to happen? well, we hope that president putin is going to call president trump after the inauguration, as soon as he's available, and congratulate him. it's a protocol so this congratulation should be delivered. we hope it will be delivered through a telephone call. then we'll expect their exchange of views on a possibility of the meeting. what kind of time frame are we talking about? currently we don't have any hints for the dates, unfortunately. are we talking weeks, months, do you think? we hope...no, i don't think weeks. of course, i mean, he's the president of the united states and first of all, he's preoccupied with american business. it's like all presidents. you ask me, what are we going to do tomorrow, during the inauguration, we are going to be preoccupied with russian affairs. because they are the issue of priority for president putin. it's not coming weeks. but let's hope for the best that this meeting could take place coming month. coming months?
and to be clear about it, president putin would like the earliest possible meeting with mr trump? i have no doubt mr putin will be ready for that, yes. one interesting point, just yesterday, it was announced here in russia that edward snowden was given a couple more years of residency here. some people say that one way to warm up relations quickly would be for mr putin to, in essence, give edward snowden to the incoming trump administration as some sort of show of goodwill. in america they want to put him on trial. donald trump has made it plain that he personally believes that edward snowden should be punished for the release of secret information. edward snowden is a human being that can face a death penalty in the united states, because it's one of the few countries that still exercises death penalty. you'll never extradite him,
is that what you're saying? this is a decision that can be taken by our immigration authorities or president putin. i don't know. but he's not a toy to be presented. he's a human being. let's talk about nato, as we go round the themes that are going to be presented to trump and putin as they consider their relationship. donald trump has said nato is obsolete. he's also said nato is very important to him. his generals tell him that russia poses a direct threat, the way that you've massed both weaponry, material, and man power on nato‘s eastern flank. are you prepared to show, again, good faith by, for example, pulling
your missiles out? it is very complicated issue. you cannot just withdraw with those missiles from there without knowing that plans for creating entire russian, entire missile system will be abolished on the european continent. just one final point on diplomacy, again about dialogue, it's about syria. it is very notable that in your initiative with the turks to get some sort of dialogue going between the government and the rebels, which led to the ceasefire, the americans weren't involved at all. now there are more peace talks scheduled for kazakhstan next week. do you definitely want the americans, under the new trump administration, to be involved, to be big players alongside you and the turks? well, definitely we would welcome that. we would welcome that. situation is very complicated. you know that the, also there is iran, like a very important player in syrian issue. the iranians say the
americans won't be there. the iranians are not welcoming the americans. it's a very complicated issue for a very careful play. you and i in previous conversations have gone into great detail about accusations that russia has committed human rights violations, some say war crimes in its military activities in syria. one simple question on this — since we last spoke, the un general assembly has voted to establish an investigative body to collect, consolidate and preserve, they say, evidence and prepare cases on war crimes and human rights abuses. will you cooperate with that un investigation? i have no doubt, yes. should it be started and what will be the composition of that. your people at the un were gravely sceptical it should be started in the first place. you're saying, we've decided we are going to fully cooperate. no, we haven't decided. theoretically, i say,
theoretically, we would welcome those investigations. a final thought, i want to take it away from the international arena to the domestic arena. i just spoke to perhaps the leading voice in opposition to president putin in this country today, a man who has declared he wants to run in the presidential elections in 2018 against putin. he said to me, you know why putin fights these wars, why he is projecting russia's power in different arenas around the world, he is trying to distract the russian people from what is going on inside their own country, the millions and millions condemned to live in poverty, the systemic corruption, which is seeing a tiny elite at the top, enriching themselves on the back of the majority of russians who see no growth, no prosperity. that's what he's going to campaign on. that is going to cause you and your boss a great deal of trouble.
well, you know, unfortunately, we have a very weak opposition in our country. i wonder why that is. could it be because they're not allowed access to state television for example? no, it's not about state television. you have modern media and viewership of television is diminishing day by day. in russia today, if you switch on the tv and you want to find an opposition voice it is almost impossible. the american president is winning elections using twitter. in order to be a successful opposition, you have to be sustainable. you have to have a programme of development of the country. you also have to be allowed a semblance of freedom. you have to be a person not at risk of being assassinated as boris nyemtsov was. unlike alexei novalny, whose brother is in prison and he is on trumped—up charges, you need the freedom to build a political movement.
you know as well as i do, in russia today, that's impossible. why don't you think that they're not fair charges? because the european court of human rights has declared that they are political and it said that they were illegitimate. we don't agree with that. you don't agree with the european court of human rights when they analysed the evidence? i would rather trust our own court. we do have much more confidence in our own court system. do you read alexei novalny‘s anticorru ption foundation website. once in a while, yes. you'd have seen your own name. yes, most frequently. he wants to know how come a guy like you, a public servant on a not bad, but modest salary, how come you live in a villa, which he's pleased to show me, which is worth,
he says, $15 million and the very famous watch of yours worth £400,000. try to double check that with a different real estate agent. try to double check that. do you want to tell me how much your villa is worth? i'm happy to take your estimate. if we're here to discuss the cost of my villa, i hope it's quite expensive. we're almost out of time. we have to wrap this up. putin up for re—election in 2018, can you guarantee to me that alexei novany will at least be allowed to run and challenge putin? i'm not head of central election committee. i can't guarantee that or not guarantee that. so that's why i'm not entitled to make these kind of statements. do you believe it would be best for russia if an opposition leader
like him were allowed to run against putin? i think it would be best for russia if we have a serious opposition with a serious approach, with experienced professionals and politicians trying to compete with acting power in the face of president putin, who is being supported by 90% of this population. i'm taking from that last answer that there's no question president putin will run for another term in 2018? you know, we...it was our first interview and i told you — it was 2004, i think, or whenever... i'm not quite that old on hardtalk. as a citizen of the russian federation, i hope he will take a decision to run. we have to end there. dmitry peskov, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you, it was my pleasure. hello there.
well, as forecast, dense, freezing fog caused problems to travel for monday morning and it really was quite extensive and dense in places, like this photograph proves in staffordshire. it lingered on across parts of the south—east. where it did linger, it really felt quite cold, temperatures hovering around freezing. there was some sunshine around. and the return of clear skies overnight means freezing fog will make a return, so we'll likely see further travel disruptions on tuesday morning.
keep tuned to bbc radio and head online for the latest updates. widespread freezing fog developing for england and wales. more of a breeze for scotland and northern ireland and some milder air pushing in with outbreaks of rain. it will be a cold start for england and wales. you can see most of the temperatures freezing or below, and the fog will be dense, so take care, give yourself time on the roads. more of a breeze in western england and wales, so i think fog—free here. maybe a little bit of brightness. quite a contrast across scotland and northern ireland, a milder start to the day than what we saw yesterday morning, temperatures in high single figures. but there will be a lot of cloud, quite a breeze and outbreaks of rain certainly across western slopes of scotland. through the day it remains quite cloudy and dull here, maybe further spits and spots of light rain, some pushing into western wales and the south—west of england, but where we hold onto the cloud it will be relatively mild. temperatures ten, maybe 11 celsius, but further east we should see the fog lifting to sunshine, but it will feel quite cold.
where the fog lingers it will feel very cold, with temperatures around freezing. the fog returns on wednesday morning for east and south—eastern areas. i think it will lift into low cloud, staying quite grey and cold. a little sunshine further north and west, and remaining breezy and cloudy for scotland and northern ireland with further outbreaks of rain, just making double figures here, but feeling quite cold elsewhere, though, in the south—east especially. we pick up a strong south—easterly wind, that will feed in a lot of cold and very dry air off the near continent, and it's going to feel pretty bitter if you add on the strength of the wind with that cold air. now, because it's dry air, you should see the cloud in the morning breaking up, so it's a grey start and then the sunshine will break through across central and southern areas. maybe some spots of rain just getting into western scotland and northern ireland once again. here, temperatures around five or six degrees, but across eastern areas 1—5 degrees, add on the wind and it will feel more
like —3 to —5. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: we have been talking about this for a long time. thank you. calling time on free trade. president trump pulls out of a proposed mega—deal with pacific rim countries. a great thing for the american worker, what we just did. bird flu spreads across the globe. the who warns of fresh outbreaks in a0 countries. i'm babita sharma in london. getting ready for the year of the rooster. millions of chinese head for home ahead of new year celebrations. silenced by the taliban, now gracing the world stage. the sounds of afghanistan's first all—female orchestra.