Obama … warning over more action
US President Barack Obama on Thursday authorised a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election in 2016.
“Russia’s cyber activities 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,” said a White House 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 US interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour,” Obama said in a statement from vacation in Hawaii.
“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 US 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,” he added.
The Obama administration issued orders to eject 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the US and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services. Those individuals and their families were given 72 hours to leave the US.
The administration also sanctioned four top officers of one of those services, the military intelligence unit known as the GRU, which the White House believes ordered the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
“These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicized,” Obama warned.
“In addition to holding Russia accountable for what it has done, the United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behaviour, and interfere with democratic governance,” he added.- TradeArabia News Service