White House Expels 35 Russian Diplomats amid Fresh Anti-Russia Sanctions
The Obama administration announced a round of sanctions against Moscow on Thursday over its alleged hacking into the Democratic National Committee's computers to influence this year's presidential election.
US intelligence agencies-the CIA and FBI-previously accused Russia of influencing November's election in order to help Donald Trump win the presidency, accusations Russian President Vladimir Putin vehemently denied.
President Obama signed an executive order Thursday outlining the punishment for individuals and organizations they believe were involved in "tampering with, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions."
The sanctions will hit Russian individuals while closing two Russian compounds, one in New York and another in Maryland. Thirty-five Russian operatives and their families have been ordered to leave the country within the next 72 hours.
"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 behavior," the president said in a statement.
"Russia's cyber activities 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," his statement read. "These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry official Konstantin Dolgov called the sanctions futile and counterproductive.
"The outgoing administration has no grounds, neither political nor moral rights for such harsh and destructive steps towards the bilateral relations with Russia," he told the Interfax news agency.
"I am sorry for the harsh wording but I don't have other words for it. This not just an agony of the 'lame ducks,' but of the 'political corpses.'"
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team