Compounds in New York and Maryland are about to be closed to Putin’s representatives over what America has deemed to be inappropriate behaviour in Russia.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the Russian diplomats would be given 72 hours to leave the United States.
The official told Reuters: “These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice.
“By imposing costs on the Russian diplomats in the United States, by denying them access to the two facilities, we hope the Russian government reevaluates its own actions, which have impeded the ability and safety of our own embassy personnel in Russia.”
President Barack Obama said today diplomats in Moscow experienced “an unacceptable amount” or harassment at the hands of Russian security services over the last year.
According to Obama data theft and other activities against his countrymen in Moscow could only have been ordered by the “highest levels” of Russian Government.
The democrat leader also called on US allies to stand to gather and oppose Russia’s “efforts to undermine established international norms of behaviour”.
President Obama said his administration will provide a report to congress over Russia’s “efforts to interfere in our election” and “malicious cyber activity” in relation to the election which Donald Trump won on November 8.
Russian police were also accused of unecessary actions towards the Americans.
A White House statement from President Obama said “all Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions”.
He said: “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 U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour.
“These actions are not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicised.”
The outgoing US president also said there would be other consequences.
Putin’s Russia has long denied any kind of hacking action during the US election.
Obama said nine Russian entities, including the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) and the FSB (Federal Security Service), were sanctioned.
Four individual GRU officers of the GRU and three companies that “provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations” were also among the blacklisted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions are “counterproductive” and will harm the restoration of bilateral ties.