Russia's Putin blames US for vote monitor pullout

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ST PETERSBURG, Russia, Nov 26 (Reuters) President Vladimir Putin said today Russia has information suggesting the United States influenced a decision by OSCE international observers not to monitor the December 2 parliamentary election.

The main election monitoring unit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) pulled out of Russia's parliamentary vote earlier this month, accusing Russian authorities of obstruction.

''According to some information it (the pullout of observers) was done on the recommendation of the US State Department,'' Putin said. ''We will certainly take this into account with our bilateral ties with this state.'' Putin said the United States wanted to present the Russian parliamentary election as illegal citing the fact that it was not properly monitored.

Putin was in St Petersburg meeting local members of his parliamentary party, United Russia.

REUTERS PD KN1650

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