According to Norberg, "Obama took advantage of the last chance to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia."
"As for Trump, perhaps, the introduction of the new anti-Russian sanctions is a New Year's gift to him from Obama," Norberg said.
He recalled that Trump has repeatedly signaled his readiness to normalize relations with the Kremlin.
However, he said, "without new additional sanctions, the President-elect had no specific restrictive measures which he could cancel without witnessing a stern reaction from the Senate and the Congress."
Norberg expressed hope that lifting the new anti-Russian sanctions will be easier than those that have been introduced in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
"After his inauguration, Trump could use the abolition of the sanctions as the first step of reconciliation with Russia," he said.
On December 29, outgoing US President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closing of two Russian diplomatic compounds and new sanctions against six Russian individuals and five entities, including Russia's GRU (the Main Intelligence Directorate, comparable to the CIA) and FSB (the Federal Security Service), over Moscow's alleged interference in the November US presidential election, which the Kremlin has denied.
Not a single hint of evidence is cited by Obama for his accusation of Russian hacking. Am I missing something? https://t.co/R0rcw0kGR1— Asa J 🇺🇸 (@asamjulian) 29 декабря 2016 г.
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed the tit-for-tat expulsion from Russia of 31 US Embassy personnel and four personnel of the US General Consulate in St. Petersburg.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not expel anyone as a response to US sanctions against Moscow over alleged hacking, choosing instead to invite US embassy staffers to the country's most exclusive New Year's Eve celebration, in the Kremlin.
"Reserving the right to retaliate, we will not resort to the level of irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy and further steps toward the restoration of Russian-US relations will be built on the basis of the policy carried out by the administration of President Donald Trump," Putin said.
Referring to the decision by US authorities to block access to a Russian diplomatic compound in Maryland, Norberg recalled said that this territory has been owned by Russia since the 1950s.
"It would be logical to cancel these restrictive measures to avoid a possible trial initiated by the Russian Embassy," he said.
However, FBI Director James Comey said that the US government has yet to present evidence of Russia's involvement in the hacking attacks aimed at influencing the outcome of the US presidential elections in November 2016.
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