Obama orders sanctions against Russian officials over US elections

World Today

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The Obama administration took steps to impose sanctions against Russian officials, intelligence services in response to election hacking.

CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

Obama orders sanctions against Russian officials over US elections

The Obama administration took steps to impose sanctions against Russian officials, intelligence services in response to election hacking. CCTV America's Daniel Ryntjes reports.

President-elect Donald J. Trump released the following statement on the sanctions: “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”

In a letter from President Obama, he used an Executive Order to take “additional steps to address the increasing use of significant malicious cyber-enabled activities to undermine democratic processes or institutions.”

Along with a release of names, the Obama White House released a statement, saying the sanctions are “in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.”

“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 U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior,” the White House said.

Russian officials have denied the Obama administration’s accusation that the Russian government was trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

“In our point of view such actions of the US current administration are a manifestation of an unpredictable and even aggressive foreign policy,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press-secretary told journalists following the announcement by the White House. “We regret the fact that this decision was taken by the US administration and President Obama personally,” he said, according to Russian television, RT.

“As it said before, we consider this decision and these sanctions unjustified and illegal under international law,” the presidential spokesman added.

Obama ordered sanctions against two Russian 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, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions. In October, my Administration publicized our assessment that Russia took actions intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year. Such activities have consequences. Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response.”

The outgoing U.S. president also announced that the State Department is “shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes,” and is expelling 35 Russian diplomats. A U.S. official told Reuters that the diplomats would be given 72 hours to leave the United States. Access to the two compounds will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the official added.

Vladmir Golstein discusses Obama’s sanctions Russian officials over US elections

For more on Obama orders sanctions against Russian officials over allegations of meddling in the U.S. elections, CCTV’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Vladmir Golstein, Associate Professor of Slavic Studies, Brown University.