Live updates: Russia's war in Ukraine

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, denied involvement in sending packages to Ukrainian embassies. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

A top Russian government official and the leader of the Moscow-aligned mercenary group Wagner denied sending alarming packages to Ukrainian embassies across Europe this week.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of being behind the more than a dozen letters, which contained explosives or animal parts and were sent to a series of Ukrainian diplomats.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova sent CNN a single word comment in response to that allegation: “psycho.”

And Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch and head of the Wagner mercenary group, said he had nothing to do with the packages.

In response to CNN’s request for comment, Prigozhin said the Wagner Group would “never engage in boorish stupid antics.”

“Think about the madness when some hooligans send bomb letters or other offensive things, what does this have to do with Wagner PMC,” Prigozhin said in a written response.

More background: There have been 17 cases of embassies receiving either letter bombs, false bomb letters or letters containing animals parts, like the eyes of cows and pigs, according to Kuleba.

“This campaign is aimed at sowing fear,” Kuleba told CNN in an exclusive interview in Kyiv on Friday.

When asked who he thought was behind the letters, Kuleba told CNN, “I feel tempted to say, to name Russia straight away, because first of all you have to answer the question, ‘who benefits?'”

“Maybe this terror response is the Russian answer to the diplomatic horror that we created for Russia on the international arena, and this is how they try to fight back while they are losing the real diplomatic battles one after another,” he added.

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By Akshay

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