US imposes news sanctions, expels Russian diplomats
WASHINGTON [AP] – The White House is announcing the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and a new round of sanctions against Russia, the Associated Press reported.
The moves are in response to last year’s hacking of federal government agencies and presidential election interference. The U.S. for the first time explicitly linked the hacking to a Russian intelligence service, AP reported.
While there is no evidence Russia or anyone else changed votes or manipulated the outcome of the 2020 election to help Former President Donald Trump in his reelection campaign, US officials have alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations.
The sanctions, which the administration has been foreshadowing for months, also represent the first retaliatory action announced against the Kremlin for last year’s hack, familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach. Russian hackers are believed to have infected widely used software with malicious code, enabling them to access the networks of at least nine agencies in what U.S. officials believe was an intelligence gathering operation aimed at mining government secrets, AP reported.
The measures are to be announced Thursday, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another senior administration official said about 10 Russian diplomats are expected to be expelled.
The sanctions come amid an already tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
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