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US expels 10 diplomats, imposes sanctions on Russia

The United States announced economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin’s US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity.

Biden’s executive order “sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilizing international action,” the White House said in a statement.

US found support from its NATO allies as it hit sanctions on Russia. The bloc supported the move taken in response to Moscow’s “destabilising activities”, an alliance statement said.

“NATO Allies support and stand in solidarity with the United States, following its 15 April announcement of actions to respond to Russia’s destabilising activities,” the statement said.

In the beginning, Kremlin showed its displeasure as news of potential US sanctions did rounds in US media. Russia said at that time that going ahead with sanctions would “not help” a possible summit between Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“What is currently being discussed — likely sanctions — will in no way help such a meeting. That is unambiguous,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, as reported by news agency AFP.

As the tensions between Russia and the West have been rising in recent weeks amid Russia’s troop buildup near the Russia-Ukraine border. The separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region have caused violence. Ukraine claims that the separatists enjoy support from Moscow, a claim Russian denies. The US has promised Ukraine help in the current situation.

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