Just two days before the start of the new year, President Barack Obama issued a new executive order imposing sanctions against Russia for their alleged interference in the recent presidential election. According to the US Department of Treasury four individuals and five agencies were targeted by these sanctions including Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, a Deputy Chief of the Russian intelligence agency GRU.
In the order issued on December 29, 2016, Obama calls for the property and interests of those involved in these so called “Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” to be blocked from transfer. Obama also ejected 35 Russian diplomats and their families, giving them just 72 hours to leave the country before facing consequences.
It was speculated that Russia may retaliate with similar sanctions, however, President Vladamir Putin has made it clear that he has no intention of retaliating, calling Obama’s tactics “Kitchen Diplomacy.” Putin also expressed hope of improved relations between the two countries once President-elect Donald Trump takes office later this month.
While it is unclear what exactly Donald Trump will do, he has alluded to the fact that he does not believe that Russia played any role in the outcome of the November election.
“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation,” Trump stated on Thursday.
“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.” -Donald J. Trump
What Trump and Putin may have spoken about behind closed doors remains to be seen, however, we can only hope that whatever the pair have planned will serve as a catalyst for further cooperation between our nations.