Home News Analysis U.S indicts 12 Russian spies for hacking 2016 presidential campaign before Trump-Putin...

U.S indicts 12 Russian spies for hacking 2016 presidential campaign before Trump-Putin meeting

Talking to the reporters in a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he said that no President has been tougher toward Russia than himself. “We have been very strong on Russia”

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Russian and U.S head of states are scheduled to meet in Finland’s presidential palace in Helsinki for the very first time. The event, though highly significant, has a little to no possibility of resulting into a major diplomatic breakthrough between both the global powers. The relations between the two states have particularly been soaring since Donald Trump took oval office with the controversy that Russia paved his way by hacking into the presidential elections of 2016.

Russia has always denied any sort of alleged meddling in the U.S electoral process. On the other hand, when Trump was meeting Queen Elizabeth, U.S deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein was announcing that U.S department of justice is indicating 12 Russian Spies for hacking and leaking the emails of Democrats. According to Rosenstein, the indicted spies belong to GRU intelligence agency – Main Intelligence Directorate of Russian Military – and include an officer of Major rank named Viktor Borisovich Netyksho.

It is a well-established international law that no extradition between two countries can take place without a functional mutual treaty in this regard. And Russia and the United States of America have never signed such treaty.

These spies operated from a building in Moscow to hack and leak the emails of Democrats during the 2016 presidential elections. Vladimir Putin has always brushed the allegations that digital footprints lead the investigation to Russia claiming that it is very easy to manipulate the digital identity for a person, even for someone with mediocre level of internet knowledge. The indictment comes at a very crucial time for President Donald Trump who is set to meet Vladimir Putin one-on-one, accompanied by interpreters only, on Monday.

Read more: Russia rejects allegations and questions US, EU actions

Kremlin has linked high hopes with the meet up expressing the possibility of U.S president’s visit to Moscow in near future. Russia, which was once down and dusted at the end of cold war, has started to emerge as a significant influence of the global political landscape. The economic and military edge between both the countries is beyond comparison still Putin has played the cards at his disposal with extreme cunningness.

He has been successful in thwarting the U.S efforts to topple the Assad regime and acted as a buffer in bringing both the Koreas together. On the other hand, Donald Trump will be heading to Finland’s presidential palace with serious discords among the NATO states; an organization primarily founded to counter the Soviet influence in the Baltic and Europe during the cold war.

According to Rosenstein, the indicted spies belong to GRU intelligence agency – Main Intelligence Directorate of Russian Military – and include an officer of Major rank named Viktor Borisovich Netyksho.

Trump has been giving mix signals via his contrasting statements before the summit. Talking to the reporters in a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he said that no President has been tougher toward Russia than himself. “We have been very strong on Russia,” Trump told reporters while recalling that expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the Russian embassy in Washington after alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russian Spy in Britain.

But when he was in Brussels for NATO summit, he praised Vladimir Putin for doing good things in Crimea such as building a bridge and a submarine base. Russia forcefully annexed Crimea back in 2014, a move which the United States ferociously condemned and lobbied against during Obama tenure.

Read more: Information Warfare: Historical Excursus and Russia’s Position

It will be a test for Donald Trump, whether he will ask Putin to extradite the indicted spies to the United States of America or not. Because if he does so, he will be endorsing special Prosecutor Robert Muller‘s investigation which has been going on for more than a year now. Robert Muller is investigating any link between Russian meddling in the U.S elections and Donald Trump’s election campaign. But if he does not opt to raise the issue in his meeting with the Russian president, he will be standing in contrast to U.S national interests which will not only seem odd but he might also face serious backlash from media and masses in America.

The demand for extradition, if he makes one, will only be symbolic in nature with zero possibility of Putin complying with it. It is a well-established international law that no extradition between two countries can take place without a functional mutual treaty in this regard. And Russia and the United States of America have never signed such treaty.


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