Putin praises Russian GRU military intelligence

Putin praises Russian GRU military intelligence
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Diaz-Canel is in Moscow for three days of talks aimed to expanding cooperation between the two nations. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russia’s military intelligence, GRU, on its centenary, hailing the agency that has been accused of meddling and violence by the West.

Putin specifically praised the GRU for its action in Syria, saying it strongly contributed to the success of Russia’s campaign there.

The U.S. and its allies have accused the GRU of involvement in the March nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy in Britain and also of hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and disrupting anti-doping efforts. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations, calling them part of a Western smear campaign.

While the GRU counts its history from 1918 when it was created in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution, Putin also mentioned its predecessors in the old imperial Russia.