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Lavrov dismisses claims Moscow behind Democrats’ email hack

Russia has long been considered among the most elite US adversaries in cyberspace

Published: Updated:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday brushed aside accusations that Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails.

"I don't want to use four-letter words," Lavrov told reporters, when asked whether Russia was responsible for the hacking of emails.

He was speaking at the start of talks with Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Laos.

Cyber security experts and US officials said on Monday there was evidence that Russia engineered the release of sensitive Democratic Party emails in order to influence the US presidential election.

The FBI said it was investigating a cyber-intrusion at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which has led to discord as the party’s convention in Philadelphia opens on Monday to nominate former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as its candidate.

Although the hacking of the DNC was known to officials and cyber security experts a month ago, the timing of the release of the contents of communications within the party is what is causing concern for US authorities.

A US official involved in the investigation said that the classified information collected on the hack so far “indicated beyond a reasonable doubt that it originated in Russia.”

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the timing of the release of emails “has all the hallmarks of a classic intelligence operation intended to damage a perceived adversary.”

The official said, however, that it may be impossible to prove definitively that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government directed the attack.

The emails, released by activist group WikiLeaks at the weekend, appeared to show favoritism within the DNC for Clinton over US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who ran a close race for the nomination for the Nov. 8 election. The committee is supposed to be neutral and the disclosure forced chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, to resign.