Obama Hits Russia With New Sanctions
But Trump could lift them once he's in office
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2016 9:35 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Oct. 18, 2016.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)

(Newser) – The Kremlin is threatening to respond in kind after the US imposed new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. The sanctions go after several businessmen and companies—and they're not over allegations of hacking. Instead, the US is punishing Moscow for what it sees as Russia's illegal incursions in Ukraine and Crimea, State Department rep John Kirby tells NBC News. He adds that the sanctions had "nothing to do with time on the clock," referring to President Obama's last days in office before the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump—whose pick for secretary of state has previously argued against sanctions on Russia.

Trump's administration could swiftly lift the executive orders allowing for sanctions, but "we hope that they will come to see the wisdom in not conducting business as usual with Russia given their continued activities," Kirby says. Russia called the sanctions "hostile" and suggested payback could be in order. "We will see how we can respond asymmetrically," says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, as reported by Russian news agency Tass. "We reserve the right to choose the timing, the venue, and form of counter-moves the way that will suit us." Reuters has details on those hit by the sanctions, including six executives at Bank Rossiya or its subsidiaries.

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