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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin is rebuffing accusations that Moscow is meddling in U.S. elections through hacking and says the identity of the cyber-criminal is unimportant.

U.S. officials accused Russia last week of coordinating hacks of the Democratic National Convention and other U.S. institutions.

Putin says Wednesday in Moscow that "hysterics have been whipped up to distract the attention of the American people from the essence of what the hackers released … For some reason nobody talks about this. They talk about who did it. Is it really that important?"

Putin said U.S. politicians were "abusing anti-Russian rhetoric" ahead of the Nov. 8 election, but called the attention flattering.

He says "Problem No. 1 in the electoral campaign is Russia. That’s all they talk about. This, of course, very pleasant."

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