US to announce new sanctions against Russia in response to election hacking

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016.

ALEXEI DRUZHININ | AFP | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016.

The White House is preparing to announce retaliatory measures against Russia for its role in directing cyber attacks in the United States, two senior officials confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.

In October, the United States formally blamed Russia for political hacking attacks, saying they were intended to interfere with American elections. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax that the accusations are “nonsense.”

The new actions, which would be an update of a 2015 executive order, could be announced as early Thursday or Friday, the officials said. They would also likely include economic sanctions coordinated by the Treasury department.

The unannounced measures will be covert and include cyber options, NBC News reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Russia and Vladimir Putin should expect “bipartisan sanctions coming that will hit Russia hard, particularly Putin as an individual.”

In response to Graham’s statements, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry promised retaliation in the event of new economic sanctions.

“To be honest, we are tired of lie about the ‘Russian hackers’, which is being poured down in the United States from the very top,” Russia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

She also called reports of possible new sanctions a “provocation directed by the White House”.

— NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell and Reuters contributed to this report.

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