In a tit-for-tat response, Russia on Friday expelled 35 US diplomats after US President Barack Obama slapped a series of sanctions against the country and expelled 35 Russian officials. In a statement on Thursday, Obama said, “All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions.” Obama had ordered a series of actions in response to Russia’s alleged harassment of US officials and cyber attacks targeting the US election. According to reports, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying he had proposed the measures to President Vladimir Putin.
Lavrov said Russia would not leave the sanctions unanswered and said that allegations that Russia interfered in U.S. elections were baseless. Obama in his statement further said, “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.”
The order issued by President Obama gave additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine US election processes and institutions, or those of its allies or partners.
(With inputs from agencies)