A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said that US officials have concluded that the hacking attacks or probes of state voter registration systems are 'consistent with Russian motivations.' Photograph: (Getty)
US has formally accused Russia of political cyber attacks in yet another blow to the strained ties between the two countries
The US government on Friday formally accused Russia of a cyber attack campaign against Democratic Party organisation ahead of the November 8 presidential polls.
"We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russis’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities," a US government statement said on Friday about hacking of political groups, Reuters reported.
"These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process," the statement added.
Kremlin has however denied the allegations, with a spokesperson calling the US claims “rubbish”, the Interfax news agency reported.
"This is again some sort of rubbish," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agency Interfax.
"Every day (President Vladimir) Putin’s website gets attacked by several tens of thousand of hackers. A lot of these attacks are traced to the territory of the USA, but we do not blame the White House or Langley each time." Peskov said.
The Obama administration's decision to blame Russia for the attacks is yet another blow to Washington’s relations with Moscow, which are under strain over Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine.
Until Friday, the administration had refrained from formally naming Russia in connection with the mounting civilian deaths in Syria or the cyber attacks.
The initial statement by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not blame the Russian government for hacking attempts against state election systems, but instead said that "scanning and probing" of those systems originated in most cases from servers operated by a Russian company.
However, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told Reuters that US officials have concluded that the hacking attacks or probes of state voter registration systems are "consistent with Russian motivations."
Adding to this, the US secretary of state John Kerry on Friday said Russian and Syrian actions in the Syrian civil war, including bombings of hospitals, "beg for" a war crimes investigation.
Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, told Reuters that publicly naming Russia for the hacks left only question remaining,"why Donald Trump continues to make apologies for the Russians.”
Trump had earlier expressed doubt about Russia’s involvement and in July had suggested that Russia should attempt to retrieve and publish emails from Clinton’s private server.
(WION with inputs from agencies)