Russian sanctions mean 35 diplomats are kicked out of the United States for hacking violations.
For the past two weeks the worst kept secret in Washington is that President Barack Obama was going to punish Russia for their attempt to affect the United States elections. Thursday the United States issued Russian sanctions against intelligence services and their top officials, kicked out 35 Russian officials and shuttered two Russian-owned compounds in the U.S. It was the strongest action the Obama administration has taken to date to retaliate for a cyberattack.
“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions,” Obama said in a statement released while he was vacationing in Hawaii. He added: “Such activities have consequences.”
Obama ordered Russian sanctions against two of their intelligence services, the GRU and the FSB, plus companies which the U.S. says support the GRU. The cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate theft of its emails determined earlier this year the hacking came from the Fancy Bear group, believed to be affiliated with the GRU, the military intelligence agency were linked to the Russian sanctions.
As part of the Russian sanctions was Lt. Gen. Korobov, the head of GRU, and three of his deputies. Other individuals falling under the Russian sanctions, include Alexei Belan and Yevgeny Bogachev, two Russian nationals who have been wanted by the FBI for cybercrimes for years.
Obama said the hacking “could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” a contention the U.S. has used to suggest Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved.
Although the White House announced at the same time it was kicking out Russian officials and closing facilities, it said those were responses to other troubling Russian behavior: harassment of U.S. diplomats by Russian personnel and police.
The 35 Russian diplomats being kicked out are intelligence operatives, Obama said. The State Department said they were being declared “persona non grata,” and they were given 72 hours to leave the country.
As part of the Russian sanctions was,the two compounds being closed down are recreational facilities owned by Russia’s government, one in Maryland and one in New York, the U.S. said. The White House said Russia had been notified that Russia would be denied access to the sites starting noon on Friday.
Russian officials have denied the Obama administration’s accusation that the Russian government was involved at the highest levels in trying to influence the U.S. presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia’s goal was to help Donald Trump win – an assessment Trump has dismissed as ridiculous.
The move puts the president-elect in the position of having to decide whether to roll back the measures once in office.
Some quotes in this story came from ASSOCIATED PRESS and the video was from Fox News