REUTERS

The Trump administration is considering new sanctions against Russia in response to election meddling and a devastating cyber attack last year, senior U.S. officials said on Wednesday, pushing back against criticism that it has been slow to act.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress, which nearly unanimously passed a new sanctions bill against Russia last summer, criticized President Donald Trump for not punishing Moscow and accused him of being soft on his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as reported by Reuters.

Their recrimination followed a decision by the Trump administration in January not to announce sanctions against Russia for now under the new law.

Read alsoSullivan in Kyiv: U.S. will never accept trading one region of Ukraine for anotherIn a briefing for a group of reporters, three senior administration officials involved in sanctions work described a process that is slow moving for legal reasons and cannot be accelerated in response to negative headlines.

They did not provide details on when the administration would reach a decision or what measures were under consideration.

"The process on sanctions is long; it's arduous; it's not pretty, but when the evidence is there and we're ready, we go ahead with the sanctions," one official said.

The officials said there is an active review under way on how to respond to last week's designation of Russia as responsible for the devastating "NotPetya" cyber attack last year.