Did Obama overreact? US President-elect Trump's aide questions sanctions against Russia
By Yao Nian

2017-01-02 09:45 GMT+8

US President-elect Donald Trump's incoming press secretary Sean Spicer on Sunday questioned the severity of President Barack Obama's response to Russia's alleged election hacking. 
A Russian aircraft arrives outside Washington, DC, on December 31, 2016, to pick up Russian diplomats expelled by US President Barack Obama as part of sanctions imposed on Russia for suspected cyberattacks during the US election. /CFP Photo
"I think one of the questions that we have is: Why the magnitude of this?" Spicer said in an interview with American Broadcasting Company, referring to sanctions announced by Obama on Thursday against Russia over alleged hacking during the 2016 US presidential election.
"I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is: Is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't, but you have to think about that," Spicer said.
People look at the entrance to the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, where a bus is parked, on December 31, 2016. /CFP Photo
Nine Russian entities and individuals, including two Russian intelligence services, were sanctioned for their alleged interference in the US election and 35 Russian officials were expelled from the US.
Trump had downplayed the escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over alleged Russian hacking activities targeting the US.
US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from reporters accompanied by wife Melania for a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. /CFP Photo
"It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things," he said in a statement on Thursday, adding he will meet with US intelligence agencies next week to gather facts about the situation.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters in Russia that Moscow regretted the new sanctions and the measures signaled Obama's "unpredictable" and "aggressive foreign policy."
A Security member tries to open the gate on December 31, 2016, at a Russian compound in Upper Brookville, New York, one day after the compound was closed. /CFP Photo
However, Putin said Friday that Russia will not expel anyone despite Washington's latest sanctions, according to the Kremlin press service.
(Source: Xinhua)