Former Defense Department official sees 'pretty light' US sanctions against Russia being 'ratcheted up'

Key Points
  • "Things are not going to get better between the U.S. and Russia in the near term," former Department of Defense official Evelyn Farkas says.
  • Following Putin's re-election victory, Farkas expects more sanctions from the U.S.
Vladimir Putin wins another 6-year term

Vladimir Putin's landslide re-election victory likely means more sanctions from the U.S., a former Department of Defense official told CNBC on Monday.

"Things are not going to get better between the U.S. and Russia in the near term," said Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense. "We're going to continue to have as much tension as we've had."

Putin easily beat his opponents, clinching more than 75 percent of the vote on Sunday and extending his rule for six more years as Russia's president. Putin's victory was never in doubt, but the election outcome represented his biggest win ever.

The election came as Washington is considering new sanctions on Moscow over allegations that it interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. The Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian on Thursday. Additionally, just last month, a federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged illegal interference in the 2016 election.

"As far as sanctions are concerned, I expect them to be ratcheted up," Farkas told "Squawk Box." The current Russian sanctions "are pretty light when you compare them to the sanctions we have on North Korea."

Farkas, a former Obama administration official, said last year she was afraid of a cover-up about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. At the time, she urged colleagues to get all the information they could before former President Barack Obama left office.

In a series of tweets over the weekend, President Donald Trump attacked Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the Russia probe, prompting warnings from senators to not undermine the investigation. Amid intense media speculation, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said Sunday that Trump is not considering or discussing firing Mueller.