Russia said on Friday it was watching events in Georgia “with great concern” and suggested without providing evidence that the United States was stirring up anti-Russian sentiment there.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was speaking after Georgia’s parliament, following three nights of protests, dropped a draft bill similar to the “foreign agents” law that Russia has used to crack down on opponents for the past decade.

He reiterated that Moscow had nothing to do with the situation in Georgia but said it was significant that Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili had been in the United States this week.

“It’s not from Georgia that she’s addressing Georgians. She’s addressing them from America. And someone’s visible hand is trying to add an anti-Russian element again here,” he said.

“Yes, this is fraught with provocations, we are watching this very attentively and with great concern.”

The choice of words echoed Peskov’s phrasing from a briefing earlier this week. After China’s foreign minister said an “invisible hand” was prolonging the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman said the “hand” referred to was obviously that of Washington.

Russia has long accused the United States of fomenting revolutions in neighbouring countries that it regards as its sphere of influence.

It has sought to justify its invasion of Ukraine as a necessary move to defend itself from Western aggression, something Kyiv and the West reject as a false pretext for an imperial war of aggression.