Russia has said it will respond to the expulsion of 35 of its diplomats by the U.S over alleged election interference, with President Putin stating the U.S would experience “significant discomfort”.
The Obama administration expelled the diplomats alleging the Russians hacked the email accounts of Democrat Party officials including Hilary Clinton’s campaign manager, and the Democrat National Committee. The emails were published on the Wikileaks website.
Russia has denied the allegations and called the U.S response “ungrounded”.
Currently, the U.S has expelled 35 diplomats from its Washington embassy and its San Francisco consulate. They have been declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave.
Two compounds in New York and Maryland, believed to be used by the Russian intelligence services will be closed.
Sanctions have been announced against the GRU and FSB and seven other entities.
The emails stolen were a source of embarrassment for the Democrat Party throughout the election campaign.
Russia has said that it will take an “appropriate response” to the actions of the U.S which may include closing schools attended by the children of U.S diplomats on Russian soil.
However, in the tradition of the Cold War, tit-for-tat actions could occur. This would involve Russia expelling 35 U.S diplomats from Russia.
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said, “Undoubtedly, commensurate reaction based on the principle of reciprocity will cause significant discomfort to the American side in the same areas.
“These decisions were taken by President Obama, but Trump will become the head of state in three weeks’ time. Of course, this factor will certainly be taken into account one way or another.”
Amy Klobuchar, US Democrat Senator told the BBC, “This is something that is not just about American democracy, it’s about all democracies.
“There’s upcoming elections in Germany and France and for the US just to roll over and to let this happen with no response would have been a huge mistake.”
US intelligence agencies concluded the aim of the hack was to damage Clinton and promote Trump.