US Expels 35 Russian Diplomats, Closes Offices

Officials Give Conflicting Reports on Expulsions

The Obama Administration has announced a series of measures against Russia today, expelling 35 Russian officials from the country, who were either diplomats, according to the initial announcement, or “intelligence operatives” who hacked the election, according to the New York Times.

The reports agree that there are 35 of them, and that the US is expelling Russia from a pair of compounds as well, one in New York and one in Maryland, but that’s about it. They couldn’t even agree on why, despite this being prefaced by days of officials promising retaliation for the “election hacks,” as some officials also presented the diplomats as just being expelled as revenge for Russian “harassment” of US diplomats.

Beyond that, the Treasury Department announced a new series of economic sanctions which were presented officially as retaliation for the election. That doesn’t mean the report was any more straightforward, however, as it lead to perhaps the most vague sanctions declaration ever.

The sanctions don’t specifically name anyone being targeted, or announce anything that’s actually happening immediately, but rather say they’re going to seize assets from people who they believe were involved in the putative election hack.

As of yet, US cyber attacks against Russia, which President Obama also promised, haven’t been confirmed to be happening. Russia has promised to retaliate against the US for any sanctions announced, but given that the sanctions don’t appear to be doing anything yet, Russia’s retaliation may be deferred.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.