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Russia Dismisses US Hacking Allegations as 'Election Campaign Instrument'

FILE - Sergey Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, is pictured at U.N. headquarters in May 2010. Interfax quoted him as saying there was no proof of Russian involvement in the hacking of U.S. political organizations' computers.

Muscovites reacted defensively and with cynicism Saturday after the U.S. government officially accused Russia of being the most likely culprit in recent hackings of U.S. political organizations.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security said Friday that they were confident Russia was behind the hacking of email servers whose contents were then leaked online.

"It is propaganda. It is not true, [this alleged] attack of the Americans' servers," said lawyer Ivan, 35. "Each defends its political interests in the world. They are making a countercampaign."

"I think it is propaganda," said policeman Yuri, 37. "Hacking? Russians do not need to do that. This is a new Cold War by the USA, not by Russia."

But others said the renewed rivalry between the two nations justified such cyberattacks against the U.S.

"Political rivals use any method," said Igor, 52, an army reserve captain. "Now with this hysteria, propaganda against Russia, our diplomats take their appropriate action. The interests of Russia and the U.S. have crossed in the Near East, and their geopolitical interests are in confrontation. It is normal. It is politics. It has always been and always will be."

FILE - The headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington.
FILE - The headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington.

Attack on DNC

The most significant hack the DHS attributed to Russia was the one that resulted in the theft of thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee. The DHS said Russia's actions reflected an intent to interfere with the U.S. election.

"This is some nonsense again!" Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency. "[President Vladimir] Putin's website is attacked by dozens of thousands of hackers on a daily basis. A lot of attacks can be tracked to U.S. territory, but we don't blame the White House or the CIA each time."

Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as saying there was no proof of Russia's involvement and that the U.S. was stirring up emotions against Russia as an "election campaign instrument."

Suspicion also fell on Russia after cyberattacks on state election systems in the U.S. and well-timed spikes in some online polls favoring Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has exchanged mutual praise with Putin.

While U.S. officials have not pointed at Russia for attacking voting systems, they are urging states to improve security ahead of the November vote for president.