(GPA) Washington – In a response to the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, US officials announced they would be expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the United States as “punishment.”
Washington will also be closing two compounds– one in New York and one in Maryland– which Russia uses for intelligence gathering. This all goes hand-in-hand with a new set of sanctions on 6 Russian individuals and 5 entities for what Obama calls “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.”
Russia still denies the allegations and the CIA has yet to offer any substantial proof of Russian interference. But there are other aspects at play here. At this very moment Turkey, Russia, and to an extent Iran are working on a ceasefire deal in Syria which– if successful– would jeopardize the United States’ ultimate goal of overthrowing Assad. Russia will be leading the peace negotiations in neighboring Kazakhstan next week.
The Obama administration is also likely preparing for the upcoming Donald Trump presidency as Trump has expressed mending ties with Russia. Expelling the diplomats from the US means the exiting administration wants to make tensions as high as possible before Trump enters office.
The diplomats will have 72 hours to pack up with their families and leave the country. Russia is expected to respond with similar actions.