Tuesday, 21 September, 2021


US Sanctions Russia and Expels 10 Diplomats Over SolarWinds Cyberattack

US President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's Russia US President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's Russia
Conrad Doyle | 16 April, 2021, 18:20

In a television interview last month, Biden said "I do" when asked if he thought Putin was a "killer".

Liam Peach, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, agreed that the fallout will be limited unless the sanctions are extended to all sovereign debt, or Russian Federation launches aggressive retaliation.

US intelligence documents show that the company has gone even further at times and has been supplying Russian intelligence with offensive hacking tools, knowledge and offensive operations, according to MIT Technology Review.

The move prevents US financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble and non-ruble denominated debt after June 14.

The United States earlier in the day announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and sweeping sanctions against individuals and entities in response to Moscow's alleged election interference and cyber activities.

Biden said Thursday that the sanctions were "proportionate" and that he wanted a stable and predictable relationship with Russian Federation, adding that it was "time to de-escalate".

Besides the SolarWinds hack, US officials last month alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in his unsuccessful bid for re-election as president, although there's no evidence Russia or anyone else changed votes or manipulated the outcome.

The sanctions reflect an attempt by the U.S.to balance the desire to punish the Kremlin for past misdeeds but also to limit the further worsening of the relationship, especially as tensions grow over a Russian military buildup near Ukraine.

Hitting back at Russian Federation also comes as the Biden administration has sought to keep open channels of diplomatic communication and to work with Russian Federation when it is in the US' interest.

The actions would represent the second major set of sanctions by the Biden administration against Russian Federation.

An executive order signed by Biden gives additional authorities to act against Russian Federation that the US isn't exercising immediately and would prefer not to have to use, an administration official said.

But "when Russian Federation seeks to violate the interests of the United States, we will respond", he said.

The 10 diplomats being expelled include representatives of Russian intelligence services, the Biden administration said.

He also reaffirmed US support to allies and partners in Europe, saying he urged Putin "to refrain from any military action" over Ukraine.

The sanctions target Russia's ability to borrow money by banning USA businesses from buying Russian bonds directly from Russia. Others targeted include individuals and entities that operate outside Russian Federation at the behest of Moscow.

He said the competition between the world's leading intelligence services "should be fair".

The U.S. can't be fully confident in the assessment because "it relies on detainee reporting", and because of the challenging operating environment in Afghanistan, according to the official.

After the sanctions were announced, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that "such aggressive behavior will undoubtedly trigger a resolute retaliation".

"I think you should realize that the original initiative of trying to build those relations and establish a dialogue was put forward by President Putin", Peskov said. Putin later recalled his ambassador to the United States and pointed at the USA history of slavery and slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.

The move would be retaliation for cyber-attacks aimed at the United States, including alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections.

Federal agencies have said that the hack impacted 18,000 public and private sector computers, including the machines at 10 USA government agencies, and that the intrusion is a "grave threat" to us cybersecurity. The breach exposed vulnerabilities in the supply chain as well as weaknesses in the federal government's own cyber defences.

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