File - In this Sept. 5, 2016 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Russia has mounted a campaign of covert economic and political measures to manipulate five countries in central and eastern Europe, discredit the West's liberal democratic model, and undermine trans-Atlantic ties, a report by a private U.S. research group said.The publication of "The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Eastern and Central Europe" coincides with an unprecedented debate in the United States over whether Russia is attempting to interfere in the Nov. 8 presidential election with cyberattacks and the release of emails from the campaign of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.Last Friday, the U.S. government for the first time formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party organizations.A former U.S. State Department official is the report's lead author and U.S. officials said they concur with the findings on Russia's involvement in Eastern Europe.It is not the only study this year to highlight Russia's measures in the region.
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