U.S. President Barack Obama has issued sanctions against the Russian Federation. In the sanctions issued today, the President expelled 35 Russians and sanctioned five Russian entities and four individuals for an alleged cyber assault on Democratic political organizations during the 2016 presidential campaign, the White House announced today . . .
The U.S. President said in a statement, inter alia:
“I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election,” Obama wrote in a statement. “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.
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.”
Reports by U.S. media say President Obama also issued an executive order, amending his April 2015 decree to expand authorization for a response to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine U.S. election processes and institutions.
The U.S. State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and has ordered 35 Russian intelligence operatives to leave the U.S. within 72 hours.
In a statement, the State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner wrote:
“the Russian government has impeded our diplomatic operations by, among other actions: forcing the closure of 28 American corners which hosted cultural programs and English-language teaching; blocking our efforts to begin the construction of a new, safer facility for our Consulate General in St. Petersburg; and rejecting requests to improve perimeter security at the current, outdated facility in St. Petersburg.
Today’s actions send a clear message that such behavior is unacceptable and will have consequences.”