U.S. Democratic presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of a string of cyberattacks targeting U.S. political organizations and prominent current and former officials.
Clashing with Republican rival Donald Trump on October 19 in their third and final debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Clinton said the recent hacking and leak of e-mails of U.S. individuals and groups was "clearly" ordered by "Putin himself" in order to benefit her opponent.
U.S. officials have accused Moscow of coordinating the cyberattacks, including on the Democratic National Committee, ahead of the November 8 election.
In the debate, Clinton accused Russia of handing the stolen information to the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks, which has published troves of e-mails from her campaign.
Clinton’s campaign has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of trying to swing the election for Trump, who has spoken warmly of Putin and advocated a warming of battered ties between Washington and Moscow.
Both Trump and the Kremlin have dismissed the accusations as absurd.
Trump responded during the debate by saying that he would condemn Russia "or anyone else" who was behind the cyberattacks.
He said Putin did not respect Clinton or U.S. President Barack Obama and had "outsmarted" both of them "at every single step of the way."
With reporting by AP and Reuters