Biden Expels Russian Diplomats, Imposes New Sanctions Over Cyber-Attack
US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order deporting 10 Russian diplomats, imposing new sanctions on Russia over alleged interference in last year’s presidential election and hacking of federal agencies.
According to reports, these sanctions have also targeted Moscow’s ability to borrow money and now US financial institutions have been prevented from buying bonds directly from Russian institutions.
The administration’s weeks-long crackdown marks the first resistance to the Kremlin’s alleged hacking, known as the Solarwinds Breach.
The intrusion is believed to have been carried out by Russian hackers who infected the widely used software with virus-based code, giving them access to the networks of US agencies.
U.S. officials say the bomber struck shortly afternoon in front of a U.S. military base.
In addition to the hack, U.S. officials last month accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of authorizing influential operations to help Donald Trump, who is running for re-election, but failed. There is no evidence that Russia or anyone else changed the vote or changed the outcome.
Russia, however, has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once.
The announcement today (April 15) includes sanctions on six Russian companies that cooperate in the country’s cyber activities.
In addition to the sanctions, 32 individuals and entities have been banned for spreading misleading information, including interfering in last year’s presidential election.
The United States has also banned eight individuals and entities linked to the Russian occupation of Crimea.
The Biden administration also said the 10 deported diplomats included representatives of the Russian intelligence service.
Other measures are expected from the US administration, but they will not be announced.
Authorities are working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the measures were aimed at “accounting for Russia’s reckless actions.”
“We will respond strongly to Russian actions that harm us or our allies and partners,” he said.
At the same time, he said, “where possible, the United States will seek opportunities for cooperation with Russia, with the aim of building a stable relationship in the interests of the United States.”
The White House also said that Biden was using diplomatic, military and intelligence channels in response to reports that Russia was planning to attack US and coalition forces in Afghanistan based on “the best assessments” of the intelligence community. The Taliban were encouraged to do so.
Following the announcement of the sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that “such aggressive behaviour will undoubtedly motivate the determination to retaliate.”
“Washington must realize that it will have to pay the price for many bilateral eliminations,” he said.
The State Department spokesman added that “the responsibility lies entirely with the United States.”
He said the State Department had summoned the US ambassador for “tough talks” but would not immediately say what action Russia would take.
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