President Barack Obama took unprecedented steps on Thursday to retaliate against alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, prompting vows from Russian authorities that Moscow will respond in kind.

The administration described Russia's involvement as "significant malicious cyber-enabled activities" and sanctioned four Russian individuals and five russian entities for what it said was election interference.

The administration also ordered 35 Russian Diplomats to leave the country and two Russian compounds are being closed.

This is the first time the names of Russian officials involved in the hacking have become public on the sanctions list.

According to Washington, Russia's cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of the electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government