A senior Russian official on Thursday accused the Ukrainian government of attempting to hurt Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by leaking information about his former campaign manager, according to a Politico report.
“Ukraine seriously complicated the work of Trump’s election campaign headquarters by planting information according to which Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, allegedly accepted money from Ukrainian oligarchs,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing. “All of you have heard this remarkable story.”
A transcript of her remarks was posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
Zakharova’s comments refer to a summer New York Times report documenting the existence of a secret ledger kept by the political party of deposed Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych that showed $12.7 million in cash payments earmarked for Manafort. His consulting firm, Davis, Manafort & Freeman Inc., provided political advice to Yanukovych and his now-defunct Party of Regions.
Ukranian officials stressed that Manafort may not have accepted the funds, and he stridently denied receiving any cash payments. Yet he was forced from the Trump campaign shortly after the report was published, along with a number of other articles documenting his ties to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence officials have formally accused the Russian government of hacking and leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and other prominent Democratic individuals in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.