Flickr/ Steve Rhodes
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Russia has been expanding its sphere of influence around the world during the last eight years of the Obama presidency and is no friend of the United States, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
“The Russians are not our friends. And clearly the Obama administration has not yet dissuaded them from attempting to breach our cybersecurity systems, or harass our diplomats in Moscow,” McConnell stated on Thursday, hours after the Obama administration had imposed new sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 Russian diplomats.
McConnell, a key leader of US President-elect Donald Trump’s Republican Party, accused the outgoing Obama administration of trying to re-build relations with Russia while Moscow increased its influence in the world.
“The Obama administration for eight years attempted to reset relations with Russia and sat passively while Russia expanded its sphere of influence, intervened in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Syria and attempted to bully the Baltic countries,” he said.
McConnell said imposing US sanctions against alleged Russian intelligence activities in the United States was a good first step, but had been too long delayed.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied the US allegations and stressed that Moscow had no desire to interfere in US presidential elections.
Obama’s punitive measures on Russia included the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds as well as sanctions imposed on six individuals and five entities.