Barrck Obama is sending 35 russian diplomats home to Moscow(Photo: Associated Press)

Barrck Obama is sending 35 russian diplomats home to Moscow(Photo: Associated Press)

HONOLULU (AP) — The United States is unleashing a string of sanctions and other punitive measures against Russia amid allegations that it engaged in cyber-meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign, putting pressure on President-elect Donald Trump not to let Moscow off the hook after he takes office.

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts

Russia’s government threatened retaliation and continued to deny U.S. accusations that it hacked and stole emails to try to help Trump win. Trump said the U.S. should move on, but in a sign he was no longer totally brushing off the allegations, he planned to meet with U.S. intelligence leaders next week to learn more.

Sway for Trump

A month after an election the U.S. says Russia tried to sway for Trump, President Barack Obama on Thursday sanctioned the GRU and FSB, leading Russian intelligence agencies the U.S. said were involved. In an elaborately coordinated response by at least five federal agencies, the Obama administration also sought to expose Russia’s cyber tactics with a detailed technical report and hinted it might still launch a covert counterattack.

«All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions,» said Obama, who was vacationing in Hawaii. He added, «Such activities have consequences.» He said the response wasn’t over and the U.S. could take further, covert action — a thinly veiled reference to a counterstrike in cyberspace the U.S. has been considering.

Yet the sanctions could easily be pulled back by Trump, who has insisted that Obama and Democrats are merely attempting to delegitimize his election. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged that Washington has become immersed in «anti-Russian death throes.»

Medvedev, who focused on improving U.S.-Russia ties when he was president from 2008-2012, called the latest diplomatic breach «sad» in a Twitter post Friday. As part of the punishment leveled against Moscow, the U.S. kicked out 35 Russian diplomats, in response to Russia’s harassment of U.S. diplomats. They also shut down Russian recreational compounds in New York and Maryland that U.S. officials said were being used for intelligence.

It was the strongest action the Obama administration has taken to date to retaliate for a cyberattack, and more comprehensive than last year’s sanctions on North Korea after it hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment. The new penalties add to existing U.S. sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which have impaired Russia’s economy but had limited impact on President Vladimir Putin’s behavior.

Clumsy Attempt

Russia called the penalties a clumsy yet aggressive attempt to «harm Russian-American ties.» Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would take into account the fact that Trump will soon replace Obama as it drafts retaliatory measures.

U.S. relations with Russia have suffered during Obama’s years in office as he and Putin tussled over Ukraine, Edward Snowden and Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad. Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, took to Facebook to call the Obama administration «a group of foreign policy losers, angry and ignorant, according to Associated Press

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