Russia may face sanctions, warns United States

Washington: Three prominent US senators have warned that Russia may face sanctions over the country’s alleged interference in the recently concluded presidential election, media report said on Thursday.

Outgoing President Barack Obama is expected to announce retaliatory measures as early as Thursday, the BBC reported.

The Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and Democrat Amy Klobuchar, voiced their support for sanctions on Wednesday.

They were visiting the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are Nato members close to Russia’s western edge, when they talked about the sanctions and said the move had cross-party support.

President-elect Donald Trump, however, has rejected claims of Russian interference.

The sanctions could include economic sanctions and changes to diplomatic relationships.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded in a statement: “If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered.

“Any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia.”

Earlier in December, CIA officials told the US media they had “high confidence” that Russian hackers had attempted to sway the US election in Trump’s favour.

The Trump team responded to those reports by saying “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”.

Graham told CNN the proposed sanctions would “hit Russia hard, particularly (President) Putin as an individual. I would say that 99 of us (senators) believe the Russians did this and we’re going to do something about it.”

He told reporters: “Russia is trying to break the back of democracies all around the world. It is now time for Russia to understand – enough is enough.”