Putin says Russia won’t oust U.S. diplomats despite sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin (CBS News)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (CBS News)

UPDATE:

7:45 A.M. — President Vladimir Putin has condemned a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia but says Moscow will not retaliate by expelling American diplomats.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts. 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the U.S. in 72 hours and two facilities closed.

Putin, in a statement the Kremlin’s web-site on Friday, referred the new sanctions as a “provocation aimed to further undermine Russian-American relations.”

But he says Russia would not be expelling American diplomats in retaliation as the Russian foreign ministry earlier suggested.


(ORIGINAL STORY)

MOSCOW (CNN/AP) — Russia’s foreign minister suggests Friday expelling 35 U.S. diplomats and closing two facilities in Moscow in response to similar sanctions by the U.S.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called sanctions against his country “anti-Russian death throes.”

President Barack Obama took unprecedented steps Thursday to retaliate against alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The administration described Russia’s involvement as “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” and sanctioned four Russian individuals and five Russian entities for what it said was election interference. The administration also ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and two Russian compounds are being closed.
This is the first time the names of Russian officials involved in the hacking have become public on the sanctions list.
“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,” a White House statement says. “These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
According to statements from the White House and the Treasury Department, the government has sanctioned nine entities and individuals over their alleged interference in the election: the GRU and the FSB, which are two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s operations.
The US also separately sanctioned two Russian individuals, Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Alexey Belan, for using cyber-enabled means to allegedly cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information. They’ve long been sought by the FBI.
Obama also says in the statement announcing the diplomats have been ordered to leave the country and that those individuals and their families were given 72 hours to leave the United States.
“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,” Obama says in the statement.
President-elect Donald Trump — who has publicly expressed skepticism that Russia meddled in the election — said Thursday it’s time for the US to “move on” regarding the hacking. But he added that he would meet with intelligence officials next week to be briefed on the matter.
“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump says in a statement. “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.”
A senior Obama administration official acknowledges to reporters Trump could reverse the sanctions by executive order, but adds, “I don’t think it’d make a lot of sense.”

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