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Kremlin dismisses US Democratic email hack claims as ‘absurd


In December last year, Putin praised Trump as "a very striking man, unquestionably talented"/AFP

In December last year, Putin praised Trump as “a very striking man, unquestionably talented”/AFP

MOSCOW, Russia, Jul 26 – The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed allegations that Russia was behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails as absurd, mocking what it called obsessive references to Russia in the US presidential campaign.

“This absurd news was immediately refuted by the family of the well-known presidential candidate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, referring to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier shrugged off the accusations by the Hillary Clinton campaign that Russia was involved in the embarrassing leak of emails.

Ahead of meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Laos, Lavrov said: “I don’t want to use four-letter words.”

Peskov also rubbished a report that Trump’s foreign policy adviser Carter Page had met Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov in Russia this month to speak at the graduation ceremony of the New Economic School in Moscow.

Peskov said he had asked Ivanov about the allegation, adding that the Kremlin chief of staff had responded that “he does not comment on such delusional reports”.

“We are still seeing attempts to obsessively use the topic of Russia during the US electoral campaign,” Peskov said.

“Unfortunately Russia is being used in the electoral campaign in the US. Unfortunately this traditional game is continuing.

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“We think that’s not very good for bilateral relations but we understand that we need to get through this unfavourable period.”

‘Unquestionably talented’

Trump has made no secret of his admiration for President Vladimir Putin, leading some to suggest the Kremlin strongman was working to help propel the real estate billionaire into the White House.

Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine on Saturday described Trump’s comments on what he would do if Russia were to attack a Baltic nation as “an open invitation to Vladimir Putin to roll on in”.

Trump said that as president he would defend NATO allies only after assessing whether they “have fulfilled their obligations to us”.

Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan said: “It is fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency.”

In December last year, Putin praised Trump as “a very striking man, unquestionably talented”.

“It’s not up to us to judge his virtues, that is up to US voters, but he is the absolute leader of the presidential race,” Putin said.

Trump responded by hailing Putin as a “strong leader, a powerful leader.”

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Asked about his attitude to Trump last month, Putin said: “Mr. Trump has said that he is ready for a full-scale revival of Russian-American relations. What’s wrong with that? We welcome that.”

The Russian leader also said he regretted that “the Russian card is used like some kind of bargaining chip at almost every electoral campaign in the US”.

The Kremlin also complained about the use of the “Russian factor” in the political debate ahead of the British referendum on leaving the European Union when then-Prime Minister David Cameron said that “Putin would be happy” about Brexit.

Putin reacted scornfully after the vote, saying that Cameron’s claim was “baseless.”

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