Obama orders expulsions of Russian diplomats, sanctions spies for interference in US election
United States President Barack Obama has announced a coordinated series of punishments against Russia over hacking allegations, expelling dozens of diplomats and naming intelligence operatives.
Mr Obama had promised retaliation against Russia and it came in rolling announcements, with 35 Russian diplomats given 72 hours to leave the country.
Russia will also be blocked from accessing two compounds in New York and Maryland that were used by Russian personnel for “intelligence-related purposes”.
In a further executive order, Mr Obama sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies “that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations”.
The White House named Igor Valentinovich Korobov, the current chief of the GRU; Sergey Aleksandrovich Gizunov, deputy chief of the GRU; Igor Olegovich Kostyukov, a first deputy chief of the GRU; and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, also a first deputy chief of the GRU.
A senior US official said the move would affect the Russian embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco but it is understood Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, will not be one of those expelled.
In a bid to expose Moscow’s cyber aggression, the US also released a detailed report about Russia’s hacking infrastructure that it said was designed to help computer specialists prevent more hacking.
It is the strongest action the Obama administration has taken to date to retaliate for cyber attacks, and marks a new low in US-Russian relations, which have deteriorated over serious differences on Ukraine and Syria.
And Mr Obama said more action was coming.
“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian Government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour,” Mr Obama said in a statement from Hawaii, where he is on holiday.
“These actions 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 publicised.”
There is no reason to believe Russia will cease interfering in US and other countries’ elections, Obama administration officials told reporters on a conference call after the President announced the sanctions.
“We believe these steps are important because Russia is not going to stop,” one official said.
It was not immediately clear whether President-elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, would seek to roll back the measures once he takes office on January 20.
A senior US official said that would be inadvisable.
even IF russia was behind this..they didnt hack the election..they hacked the dnc and revealed truth..everyone should be applauding!
obama trying to be the big dog in his last days..