Press TV — Dec 29, 2016
The United States has announced a series of economic sanctions against Russia over allegations that it interfered in the 2016 presidential election through cyber attacks.
“I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election,” outgoing President Barack Obama said on Thursday.
“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,” he added.
According to statements from the White House and the Treasury Department, the sanctions target Russia’s FSB and GRU intelligence agencies, four individual GRU officers, and three companies who allegedly provided support to the GRU, and two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.
Under Thursday’s actions, the US also shut down of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that the United States says are used “for intelligence-related purposes.”
In addition, Obama said that 35 Russian diplomats have been asked to leave the United States, declaring them as “persona non grata”.
The White House said in a statement that there was the consensus from the US Intelligence Community that Russia’s intervention in US elections via cyberhacking as “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“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,” the statement said. “These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the statement said.
The Obama administration has repeatedly claimed that the hacking attacks weeks before the election against some Democratic organizations were carried out by Russia as part of Moscow’s plan to interfere in the election process in order to sway the vote in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor, a claim that has been rejected by Moscow.
According to Obama, US intelligence agencies are in possession of evidence that shows Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised the hacking, which targeted the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, a top aide to defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Several American senators, including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, have called on the government to impose sanctions against Russia for its alleged meddling in the election.
Graham said on Wednesday that Moscow needed to understand it had gone too far during the election, and that new sanctions would target Russian president. “It is now time for Russia to understand – enough is enough.”