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Kremlin: Fresh US Sanctions on Russia to Further Strain Ties

A high-raking Russian official has strongly condemned the United States for imposing new sanctions against Russian officials and companies accused of interference in the US presidential election, stating that such measures will ruin Washington-Moscow ties.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday night that Moscow regrets the new US bans, and will consider retaliatory measures.

He added that President Vladimir Putin will decide on Russia's response to the US move, stressing that the Russian retaliation will be "adequate" and "based on the principles of reciprocity."

Peskov then expressed doubt over the effectiveness of the anti-Russia measures given the fact that US President Barack Obama is stepping down in three weeks.

The top Russian official also said Moscow is not sure whether President-elect Donald Trump would approve the new sanctions.

Peskov noted that the measures signal Obama's "unpredictable" and "aggressive foreign policy."

Such steps of the US administration that has three weeks left to work are aimed at two things: to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, deal a blow on the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect, Peskov said.

'US Slapped by Own Master'

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova censured the new US sanctions against her country, saying Obama has humiliated the American people by his latest move.

Today America, the American people were humiliated by their own president. Not by international terrorists, not by enemy's troops. This time Washington was slapped by own master, who has complicated the urgent tasks for the incoming team in the extreme, Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

She vowed that official statements, countermeasures and much more would come from Moscow on Friday.

According to statements from the White House and the Treasury Department, the Thursday sanctions target Russia's FSB and GRU intelligence agencies, four individual GRU officers, and three companies that allegedly provided support to the GRU, and two Russian individuals for using cyber attacks to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.

The United States has also expelled 35 Russian "intelligence operatives," giving them 72 hours to leave the country.

They are expelled for acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status. President Obama also announced the closure of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland, according to a statement from the State Department.

The US sanctions on Russia over alleged election hacking come as Trump has repeatedly called for better relations with Moscow, and rejected claims that Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the alleged mischief.

Talking to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Wednesday night, Trump downplayed the allegations of Russian intervention in the election and stressed the need to move forward. He also turned down talk of imposing sanctions against Russia.

Source: Al Alam News Network

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