Obama Expels Russian Diplomats Amidst Serious Allegations
U.S. expels Russian diplomats over attack allegations
The United States has finally taken action regarding allegations of Russian election interference, as well as a campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Moscow, by expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the country and closing two Russian compounds. The closed compounds are those of New York and Maryland, and are, according to Reuters,
“part of a series of actions announced on Thursday to punish Russia for a campaign of intimidation of American diplomats in Moscow and interference in the U.S. election.”
The Russian diplomats (whose names have not been revealed) will have only 72 hours to leave the U.S., while the two compounds, used by Russia for intelligence purposes, will be closed to Russian officials starting Friday at noon. The Russian ambassador to the U.S. is not among the diplomats expelled.
These retaliatory measures are meant to answer Russia’s actions of hacking into U.S. political institutions and meddling in the presidential elections by leaking information to benefit now President-elect Donald Trump. The anger of the U.S. State Department is not new; in fact it has long complained of Russian security agents harassing U.S. diplomats in the Russian capital, an issue that Secretary Kerry has already raised with Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. President Obama had also vowed to take action for the direct attacks against the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton. As a result, a U.S. official declared:
“By imposing costs on the Russian diplomats in the United States, by denying them access to the two facilities, we hope the Russian government reevaluates its own actions, which have impeded the ability and safety of our own embassy personnel in Russia.”
It is now expected that Russia will react by expelling U.S. diplomats. According to the BBC, among the announced measures there are also sanctions against nine entities and individuals, such as the GRU and FSB Russian intelligence agencies. As told by Al Jazeera, President Obama has defended the actions by calling them
“a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour.”
Moscow has not commented yet.
Featured image via The White House/Getty Images News