Europe

Russia US hacking: Diplomatic spat goes undiplomatic

  • 30 December 2016
  • From the section Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meeting his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou. 30 December Image copyright AFP
Image caption Relations between Presidents Putin (L) and Obama have never been easy

The expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US over the email hacking scandal has drawn a barrage of abuse from Moscow, which seems poised to respond in kind.

Russia is fuming, in the words of BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, but US politicians have not minced their words either.

Here is a taster of what's being said and shared.


Tweet by Dmitry Medvedev, Russian prime minister

Image copyright EPA

"Sad that the Obama administration, which started its life with a reset, ends it in anti-Russian death throes."


Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

Image copyright AP

"The outgoing American administration led by Barack Obama, while accusing Russia of all deadly sins, trying to accuse us, among other things, of the failure of its foreign policy initiatives, as you know, without grounds, has brought forward additional accusations that the Russian side - at state level - was interfering with the US electoral campaign, as a result of which the Democratic candidate lost. Yesterday the US administration, without presenting any facts, any evidence, announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia."


Maria Zakharova, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, in a post on Facebook headlined 'Obama's Coming Out'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maria Zakharova regularly speaks for the Russian foreign ministry

"The people who have lived eight years in the White House are not an administration but a group of vindictive, unimaginative, foreign policy failures. Today [US President Barack] Obama admitted this officially.

"Most surprising of all is that after failing to record any achievements in the international arena in the history of his presidency, the Nobel laureate has managed to sign off not with a flourish, but a blot...

"Today America, the American people, has been humiliated by its own president. Not by international terrorists, not by enemy troops. This time it's Washington's chief delivering the slap in the face, ramping up the workload for the incoming team..."

Zakharova says Jews backed Trump


Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in a TV interview

Image copyright AP

"Such actions of the administration in Washington are the demonstration, unfortunately, of an unpredictable, even aggressive, I can say, foreign policy. We think that such decisions of the acting administration, which is supposed to be in office for three more weeks, pursue two aims: finally (irrevocably?) spoiling US-Russian relations and, obviously, having an impact on the foreign policy of the future administration of the president-elect [Donald Trump]."


Tweet by Russian embassy in London mocking "lame duck" Obama

Image copyright @RussianEmbassy

Lisa Monaco, White House homeland security adviser

Image copyright AP

"What these individuals were doing were basically collecting intelligence. They were intelligence officers operating here and using these compounds, one in New York, one in Maryland, for intelligence collection purposes. And what we are saying today is, in response to and in order to impose consequences for the Russian government's increasing harassment and aggression toward our personnel in Moscow, and, of course, their malicious cyber-activities, interfering and an effort to interfere in our election process, we are imposing consequences."


Lindsey Graham, US senator (Republican)

Image copyright Reuters

"They [the Russians] are trying to destabilize democracy all over the world, not just here. It's just not about pulling for Trump, it's bigger than that. They're trying to break the backs of democracies.

"Here's what we should do. We should tell the Russians that on no uncertain terms, you interfere in our elections, we don't care why, we're going to hit you and hit you hard. I'm going to introduce sanctions, they will be bipartisan that names Putin as an individual, his inner circle, for not only hacking into our political systems but trying to destabilize democracy throughout the world."


John McCain, US senator (Republican)

Image copyright Reuters

"We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to find out exactly what was done and what the implications of the attacks were, especially if they had an effect on our election.

"There's no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was a cyber-attack. The question now is how much and what damage and what should the United States of America do? And so far, we've been totally paralyzed."


Paul Ryan, US House Speaker (Republican)

Image copyright AFP

"Russia does not share America's interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world. While today's action by the administration is overdue, it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia. And it serves as a prime example of this administration's ineffective foreign policy that has left America weaker in the eyes of the world."

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