Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that American politicians were whipping up hysteria about a mythical Russian threat in the U.S. presidential campaign as a ploy to distract voters from their own failings.

Putin, addressing an audience of foreign policy experts gathered in southern Russia, said he found it hard to believe that anyone seriously thought Moscow was capable of influencing the Nov. 8 election.

The U.S. government has formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organisations, while Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has accused Republican rival Donald Trump of being a Putin “puppet”.

Putin said he found it hard to believe that anyone seriously thought Moscow was capable of influencing the Nov. 8 election.