“Embittered and obtuse”: Moscow responds to Obama’s new sanctions

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December 30th, 2016 – Fort Russ News – 
– RIA – translated by J. Flores – 

The US imposed sanctions against Russia, alleging  “hacking” on the electoral system and the “oppression” of American diplomats. The Kremlin has called Washington’s accusations groundless and promised to take adequate measures.

Who came under sanctions

The US Treasury issued a sanctions list,  on which appear Russian authorities, companies and individuals. For example, the restrictions were the FSB and the General Staff Main Intelligence Management.

Besides the special services, sanctions were imposed on three companies – АНО “Professional association of creation and processing,” “Special Technology Center” and “ЦОР  Security”.

The US State Department claimed all three organizations involved in the hacking attacks – “Special Technology Center” in St. Petersburg allegedly helped GRU to conduct operations, “ЦОР  Security” – provided the exploration technical studies, and АНО “ПО КСИ” – special training.

Among the individuals on the list are the head of the GRU Igor Korobov and his first deputy, Vladimir Alexeev and Igor Kostjukov, and Deputy Sergei Gizunov.

Limitations include blocking all assets of the companies and the citizens. In addition, the Americans prohibited them from entering into business relationships.

The diplomatic row

US President Barack Obama also announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. 

The US authorities also decided to close two Russian consular offices in Maryland and New York. The State Department said that there are two residences that diplomats were using as holiday homes.

Restrictions imposed on diplomats became one of the most stringent measures in the history of Russian-American relations. Earlier, Washington has never resorted to the closure of diplomatic facilities.

The reaction in Russia

A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov called the accusations by the US unproven. According to him, Moscow will give an adequate response to the restrictions imposed.

“Such actions, such are a destructive, destructive course taken by the administration for bilateral  relations, from which he is to leave in three weeks. It looks like a completely unpredictable manifestation of aggression.” – Peskov told reporters.

A Kremlin spokesman said that in formulating responses, Moscow will consider that the sanctions were introduced by representatives of the outgoing administration.

“Now the counterpart of President (Vladimir) Putin is President Obama, and those decisions are also taken by President Obama who is the outgoing president, not who is the newly elected president, he will lead the country on a three weeks course, this factor, one way or another, will be taken into account..” he said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called the actions of the Obama administration “anti-Russian agony.”

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that Moscow would take action in response to the US sanctions.

“We talked about it for several years, people who lived for eight years in the White House – the Administration’s foreign policy team is a group of embittered and obtuse losers.  Today Obama admitted it officially.”, the diplomat wrote on her page on Facebook .

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“Tomorrow (Friday – Ed.) will come the official statements, countermeasures, and a lot of things”, she added.

The reaction in Moscow

Moscow has refused to talk about the possible responses. However CNN reported that they will be mirrored.

The TV channel in reference to the American officials said that the Russian authorities have made “the first visible action.” There was the closure of the Anglo-American School in Moscow, “for Americans and foreigners.” The institution involved in the children of employees of US embassies, the UK and Canada.

According to CNN, also revoked was “private access” to the residence of the US ambassador in Serebryany Bor.

The reaction in the United States

Obama’s decision came as a surprise even to the United States. President-elect Donald Trump said that America should “move towards things that are bigger and better than this (sanctions – Ed.).”

The republican promised next week to meet with the heads of the intelligence agencies to get the latest information about “hacking scandal”.

Advisor to Trump Kellyanne Conway believes that the administration of the president-elect will be able to review the actions of its predecessors. The imposition of sanctions it considers useless.

“These agencies (FSB and GRU — ed.) do not have assets here. What exactly are these sanctions? Russia meanwhile has said it is preparing a response,” she said.

The White House admitted that Trump may reconsider sanctions against Russia, but urged them “to act very cautiously.”

The leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell said that Washington made only the first step.

“Russian is not our friend, it is clear that the Obama administration has failed to dissuade them from trying to break into our cyber security system or from pursuing our diplomats in Moscow.”, the senator said on his Twitter.

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazil in turn said that Democrats “applaud” Obama. In her opinion, the measures are insufficient, and Trump should “put national security above politics.”

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