Journalists are seen outside the Russian Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., the United States, on Dec. 29, 2016. The White House on Thursday announced sanctions against Russian entities and individuals over alleged hacking during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In addition, the U.S. State Department on Thursday announced ejection of 35 Russian government officials from the United States. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
The White House on Thursday announced tough sanctions against Russian entities and individuals over alleged hacking during the 2016 US presidential election.
Nine Russian entities and individuals, including two Russian intelligence services, were sanctioned for their alleged interference in the US election
, US President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The Obama administration in October officially blamed Russia for hacking US political institutions and persons to interfere with the US election process, an accusation immediately dismissed as "nonsense" by Moscow.
"These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government," said Obama.
In addition, the US State Department on Thursday announced ejection of 35 Russian officials from the United States, calling them "acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status."
Two Russian government-owned compounds, one in US State of Maryland and one in New York, would also soon be shuttered, according to the State Department.
"These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," Obama said in the statement released while he was vacationing in Hawaii.
Calling the Obama administration's new move against Russia overdue, US House Speaker Paul Ryan, highest-ranking GOP officeholder, said the new sanctions were "an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia."
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters in Russia that Moscow regreted the new sanctions and the measures signaled Obama's "unpredictable" and "aggressive foreign policy."