Washington – The United States on Thursday expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland.
The move was made in response to a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the Russian diplomats would be given 72 hours to leave the United States.
Access to the two compounds will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the official added.
“These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and procedures by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice,” the official told Reuters.
The US Department of Treasury said that the move targets those responsible for “undermining election processes or institutions”.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said “all Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions.
He called them a “necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests”, adding it would not be “the total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities”.