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Russian President Vladimir Putin during a conference meeting on Sept. 24. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed a deal with the United States that would guarantee neither country interfere in the other’s elections weeks before the U.S. holds its general election.

Why it matters: Putin's proposal comes amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and cyber experts that Moscow is trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Context: FBI Director Chris Wray told Congress on Sept. 17 that the bureau has seen "very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," primarily to "denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment."

  • National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in August that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden."
  • Evanina added that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.

What they're saying: Putin said “one of the main strategic challenges of our time is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital sphere," in a statement published Friday by the Kremlin.

  • He pushed for measures “to reboot our relations” in information and communication security by exchanging guarantees of non-intervention into the other’s internal affairs.

The big picture: Increasing evidence shows that foreign actors, particularly Russia, are looking to exploit similar themes that were used in 2016 and in 2018 to divide the country ahead of this years' election, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • Russian state media accounts have sought to divide Democrats between centrists and progressives by casting Biden as an establishment centrist who can't be trusted by progressives.

Microsoft said on Sept. 10 that cyberattacks organized in Russia have consistently targeted consultants from both parties, political advocacy groups and national party organizations affiliated with the 2020 election since September of last year.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

More Republicans denounce GOP plans to challenge election results

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Oct. 15 in D.C. Photo: Bill O'Leary-Pool/Getty Images

More than a dozen House and Senate Republicans over the weekend attacked plans by colleagues to object to certifying 2020 election results, calling the effort ineffective, dangerous or lacking in evidence.

Why it matters: Although nearly all lawsuits brought by President Trump, his allies and his legal team to challenge election results have been dismissed, a group of Republican senators led by Ted Cruz says they will oppose certifying Joe Biden's win.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.