US expels 35 Russian intel agents over vote hacking

US President Barack Obama.  (Susan Walsh, AP)
US President Barack Obama. (Susan Walsh, AP)

Washington - The United States on Thursday fired back at Moscow over its meddling in the presidential election, announcing a series of tough sanctions against intelligence agencies, expulsions of agents and shutting down of Russian compounds on US soil.

"I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government's aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election," President Barack Obama 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 US interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour."

Among the measures announced were sanctions against Russia's FSB and GRU intelligence agencies; the designation of 35 Russian operatives as "persona non grata"; and the closure of two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that the United States says are used "for intelligence-related purposes".

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