US Expels 35 Russian Diplomats For Spying, Imposes Sanctions Over Alleged Election Hacking

US Expels 35 Russian Diplomats For Spying, Imposes Sanctions Over Alleged Election Hacking US President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin (SAUL LOEB, NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama on Friday (30 December) expelled 35 Russian diplomats, closed two Russian compounds and launched a series of tough sanctions against intelligence agencies over what the US government says was “Moscow-ordered interference” in the US presidential election. According to a US official quoted by Reuters, the Russian diplomats would be given 72 hours to leave the United States.

The sanctions target nine entities and individuals, including two Russian intelligence services and three companies, Obama said in a statement. A report about Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election would be delivered to Congress in the coming days, he added.

Russia has responded angrily, warning of “adequate reprisals” and saying Washington wants to ‘destroy’ ties with Moscow. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said sanctions against Russia would harm relations between Moscow and Washington.

Peskov added that the sanctions are 'regretfully a display of unpredictable and, arguably, aggressive foreign policy' and are intended to create problems for future administration's foreign policy. This is how the Russian Embassy in the UK reacted:

Trump responded to the sanctions saying: “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. He expressed his willingness to meet with “leaders of the intelligence community next week” and discuss the “facts of this situation.”

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