The US has accused Russia of a campaign of recent cyber attacks which it claimed were an attempt to interfere with the upcoming presidential election.
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” a US government statement said .
“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” the statement continued. “Such activity is not new to Moscow – the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.”
Prominent recent leaks of information online have included emails from the Democratic Party leadership which appeared to show a bias towards the party’s eventual Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that the US accusations were “nonsense”, Interfax news agency reported.
The chairman of a U.S. Senate cyber security subcommittee said on Friday he planned to introduce sanctions legislation over “Russia’s cyber criminals” after Washington accused Russia of political cyber attacks ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner said his legislation would require the Obama administration to investigate those who have engaged in significant actions undermining cyber security and aggressively pursue sanctions when appropriate.
Gardner is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity.
The war of words comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over a range of international disagreements, including US charges, denied by Moscow, that Russian air strikes in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been hitting hospitals and other civilian targets.