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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration says it’s “absurd” to claim the Kremlin was involved in a hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to steal emails.

The response came after cybersecurity experts and U.S. officials said they saw evidence Russia was involved in the release of DNC officials’ emails.

{mosads}”We are again seeing these maniacal attempts to exploit the Russian theme in the U.S. election campaign,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in comments translated by Reuters.

“This is not breaking new ground, this is an old trick which is being played again. This is not good for our bilateral relations, but we understand that we simply have to get through this unpleasant period,” the spokesman continued.

Peskov said the “absurd news” was “immediately refuted directly by a presidential candidate’s family,” according to the Russian state news agency website Sputnik News.

Donald Trump has dismissed claims of Russian ties to the DNC email leak, calling it a “joke.”

DNC officials have said they believe the hack, first reported in June, was the result of Russian actors. WikiLeaks published 20,000 emails taken from the DNC over the weekend.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has claimed Russian involvement in an attempt to influence the election, given the emails’ publication days before the Democratic convention.

“All I know is what the experts and the reporters are telling us. What they’re saying is it was likely Russian actors,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on MSNBC.

“I think the timing around our convention was not a coincidence,” he added.

Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier Tuesday that he raised the hack with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting in Laos.

“I don’t want to use four-letter words,” Lavrov responded to reporters when asked if Russia was responsible for the hack, according to Reuters.

The publication of the emails suggesting DNC officials favored Clinton stoked anger among supporters of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s Democratic primary rival.

Tags 2016 Democratic Convention Bernie Sanders Democratic National Committee Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John Kerry
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