- US imposes sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in US elections
- Sanctions imposed on Russian intelligence agencies including GRU and FSB
- 35 Russian intelligence agencies declared “persona non grata”
- Donald Trump dismisses allegations concerning Russia’s involvement in US election hack
President Barack Obama took the first step on Thursday to retaliate against Russia’s alleged involvement in influencing the 2016 U.S. elections.
The Obama administration held four Russian individuals and five Russian entities accountable for interfering in the election. Thirty-five Russian diplomats have been asked to leave the country. In addition, two Russian compounds will be shuttering.
35 Russian diplomats sanction for alleged interference in 2016 election
The entities sanctioned for their alleged involvement in influencing the election include Russian intelligence services GRU and FSB. Sanctions have also been imposed on four individual officers of GRU and three companies that offered material support to the GRU’s operations.
In a statement, the White House said, “Russia’s cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government. These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated”.
As noted by Reuters, Obama declared the 35 Russian intelligence operatives as “persona non grata.” The two Russian compounds being shuttered are located in New York and Maryland. They were being used for “intelligence-related purposes.”
The U.S. intelligence agencies also allege that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in attempting to influence the election. Claims have been made that Russia was responsible for the hacking of Democratic Party organizations and operatives ahead of the election. These attempts, U.S. intelligence officials say, were made by Russia to help President-elect Donald Trump win the presidency.
Vladimir Putin is ‘in no rush to make a decision.’
However, Trump has dismissed the allegations surrounding Russia’s interference in the election. He said he would meet with the U.S. officials soon to discuss the matter.
Also read: Russia Admits To Doping – Report
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said Russia “has consistently sought to undermine” U.S. interests. The sanctions, he added, were overdue.
According to CNN, Russia said it will retaliate to the “hostile steps” taken by the U.S.
Steps will also be taken in response to the expulsions, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Spokesman for Putin, Dmitri Peskov, said there is “no alternative to reciprocal measures” Peskov further added that the Russian president is “in no rush to make a decision.”
In his statement, Obama said the sanctions imposed on Russia “are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities.”
“We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized,” he said.