The Latest: Consulate's chef among expelled Russians

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 30, 2016 3:14 PM
The Latest: Consulate's chef among expelled Russians

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the tensions between the United States and Russia over hacking attacks in the U.S. elections (all times EST):

3:10 p.m.

An official says a chef is among the Russians being expelled from the U.S.

Sergey Petrov is San Francisco consul general. He says the chef is among four diplomats being expelled from San Francisco, meaning this New Year's Eve, "we'll have to cook ourselves."

Petrov says 31 of the Russian diplomats expelled from the U.S. are from the embassy in Washington.

Petrov identified only the chef, without disclosing his name. He says seven family members of the diplomats will also be leaving, including three children. He says they "have to leave within hours, and it's just not human, frankly."

Asked how the diplomats regarded the expulsion, he says: "They are bitter because they have to leave before their term expired."

The Obama administration ordered the diplomats to leave as part of sanctions in retaliation for alleged cyber meddling in the U.S. election.

___

2:48 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is praising Russian President Vladimir Putin for holding off on retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for its alleged interference in the U.S. election.

Trump on Twitter praises Putin's "Great move on delay."

He adds, "I always knew he was very smart!"

Putin on Friday condemned a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia. But he said Moscow would not retaliate by expelling American diplomats.

Trump has been slow to criticize Putin and has questioned U.S. intelligence linking Russia to campaign hacks.

Trump is planning to meet next week with U.S. intelligence officials, but he says it's time for the country to move on.

___

12:30 a.m.

The spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry says some of the diplomats ordered expelled by the United States have been in their posts only about two months.

Maria Zakharova was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Friday that their short tenure suggests they could not have been involved in cyberattacks on the U.S. election process.

She said: "It is unclear how they could technically be involved in the sabotage of the American elections, which the special services are talking about, stating spring 2016 as the date."

The White House ordered sanctions on Russia Thursday over alleged election meddling and declared 35 diplomats persona non grata. The White House said the expulsions were in response to harassment of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia over the last two years.

___

7:45 a.m.

President Vladimir Putin has condemned a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia but says Moscow will not retaliate by expelling American diplomats.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts. 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the U.S. in 72 hours and two facilities closed.

Putin, in a statement on the Kremlin's website Friday, refers to the new sanctions as a "provocation aimed to further undermine Russian-American relations."

But he says Russia would not be expelling American diplomats in retaliation, as the Russian foreign ministry earlier suggested.

___

5:30 a.m.

Russia's foreign minister has suggested expelling 35 U.S. diplomats in response to a new round of U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, as American political sites and email accounts were hacked. Thirty-five Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the U.S. in 72 hours and two facilities closed.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in televised remarks on Friday that the foreign ministry and other agencies have suggested that President Vladimir Putin order expulsion of 31 employees of the U.S. embassy in Moscow and 4 diplomats from the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. Another suggestion is to bar U.S. diplomats from using their summer retreat on the outskirts of Moscow and a warehouse in the south of Moscow.

The Kremlin spokesman said late Thursday that it would be up to Putin to draft retaliatory measures.

___

4:1 5 a.m.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called a new round of U.S. sanctions against his country "anti-Russian death throes."

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts. The Kremlin said late on Thursday that it was considering retaliatory steps.

When he was president in 2008-2012 Medvedev focused on improving U.S.-Russia ties in what became known as the "reset" policy. He voiced disappointment with the new round of sanctions on Friday.

"It is sad that the Obama administration that began its life by restoring ties ends it with anti-Russian death throes. RIP," Medvedev said on Twitter.

Medvedev visited the United States in 2010 and sent his first tweet during a visit to Twitter's headquarters in the Silicon Valley.

___

3:09 a.m.

The United States is unleashing a string of sanctions and other punitive measures against Russia amid allegations it engaged in cyber-meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign, putting pressure on President-elect Donald Trump not to let Moscow off the hook after he takes office.

Russia's government threatened retaliation and continued to deny U.S. accusations that it hacked and stole emails to try to help Trump win. Trump said the U.S. should move on, but in a sign he was no longer totally brushing off the allegations, he planned to meet with U.S. intelligence leaders next week to learn more.

A month after an election the U.S. says Russia tried to sway for Trump, President Barack Obama on Thursday sanctioned the GRU and FSB, leading Russian intelligence agencies the U.S. said were involved. In an elaborately coordinated response by at least five federal agencies, the Obama administration also sought to expose Russia's cyber tactics with a detailed technical report and hinted it might still launch a covert counterattack.