Russia hits back at US hack claims
Moscow accused of election interference
A top Russian diplomat has lashed out at the United States over claims that Russia is hacking political websites and email accounts in an attempt to influence the American elections.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement yesterday that Washington’s accusations are an attempt to heat up antiRussian sentiment as the US presidential election nears.
Ryabkov said the blunt accusation made on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security is not supported by concrete evidence and “our enemies are continuing to blame Russia for interference in US domestic matters.”
“The supercharging of emotions about Russian hackers is being used in the pre-election fight; the current administration, taking part in this fight, is not averse to dirty methods,” he said.
The Obama administration is turning up the rhetorical heat on Russia, accusing senior Russian officials of ordering the hacking of American political sites to try to interfere in the upcoming election and suggesting that Russia’s military is committing war crimes in Syria.
Friday’s barrage of allegations – coupled with angry denials from Moscow – marked a descent to yet another low point in increasingly poor relations between the countries, who are deeply divided over key international issues of war and peace. The hacking allegations, made publicly for the first time since cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee earlier this year, came amid pressure on the administration to call Russia out for the hacking, which has produced the release of embarrassing internal emails. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s seniormost officials could have authorised these activities,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement with the Department of Homeland Security. It said recent disclosures of alleged hacked emails on websites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks, and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona, are consistent with the methods and motivations of efforts directed by Russia, which has denied involvement. “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” the statement said. “Such activity is not new to Moscow. The Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, to influence public opinion there.” The White House declined to say whether the formal attribution would trigger sanctions against Russia or what the reaction would be.
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