US expels 35 Russian diplomats and imposes additional sanctions

On 29 December 2016, the US imposed additional sanctions on Russia in response to its alleged cyber-enabled activities aimed to interfere with the US elections earlier this year. The White House stated that:

“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.”

The full White House statement can be found here.

The new restrictive measures include:
1. An amending of Executive Order 13694 (link), “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”;
2. Designations of four individuals and five entities determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions. Including officers of the GRU and the FSB, Russian intelligence services, and companies that provided material support to the cyber operations;
3. Imposition of sanctions on two Russian for engaging in malicious cyber-related activities pursuant to Executive Order 13694;
4. The closing of two compounds, one in Maryland and one in New York, said to be used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes.
5. The expelling 35 Russian intelligence operatives, and their families, working undercover as spies; and
6. The publication by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a report describing declassified technical information on the tactics and techniques used by the Russians to conduct cyber intrusions against target systems. The report can be found here.

The White House’s statement and measures, show that the diplomatic relationship between the US and Russia has severely cooled down. It remains to be seen what impact these measures will have on the short term, but also how these measures will be applied under the Trump-administration.

We will of course keep you updated. Please contact us should you require any further advice on this matter or how these measures affect your business. You can reach us at: info@balaw.nl or at +31 20 260 0082.

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