White House – The United States did not allow a foreign power to intervene in the US elections, with President Joe Biden saying Thursday that he took action to punish Russia and a major cyber attack for her.
“Today I have approved several steps, including the expulsion of several Russian officials, as a result of their actions,” Biden said at the White House. “I have signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions to address specific harmful actions taken by Russia against American interests.”
Biden said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call earlier this week that he could go further, but chose to be proportionate and does not want to escalate tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“If Russia continues to interfere in our democracy, I am ready to take further action to respond.”
Thirty-two institutions and individuals associated with Moscow are being approved for disinvestment efforts and intervention in the 2020 US presidential election.
Ten personnel from Russia’s diplomatic mission in Washington were expelled, including “representatives of the Russian intelligence services”, according to the White House.
The Biden administration is formally blaming Russia’s external intelligence agency SVR for its huge cyberspace breach discovered last year, involving Texas-based software management company SolarWinds, which allowed access to the systems of thousands of companies and several federal agencies was.
The Russian spy agency reacted to the charge, calling it “nonsense” and “windbaggery”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it told US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan that the new sanctions are a serious blow to bilateral relations and Moscow’s response will follow soon for them. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was completely inappropriate for Washington to warn Moscow against moving forward.
“Apart from the widely anticipated move by the Biden administration on Thursday,” a senior American official said on condition of not speaking with reporters, “there will be elements of these actions that remain unseen.”
Biden said during his seven-minute remarks in the East Room on Thursday afternoon that he believed he and Putin would meet somewhere in Europe for the summer.
At that meeting, the president said, the two countries could “initiate a strategic stability dialogue to advance cooperation in arms control and security,” as well as addressing issues such as reconsidering nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea Are, coronavirus epidemics. “The existential crisis of climate change.”
US Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said the president’s actions demonstrated in the United States “will no longer turn eyes on Russian rude activity.” But Schiff, in a statement, only predicted enough sanctions to prevent Russia’s misconduct.
“We must strengthen our cyber security, take further action to condemn Russia’s human rights abuses, and, while working in concert with our allies and partners in Europe, further deter the Russian military invasion Should, ”Schiff said.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner said, “I hold the Biden administration formally responsible to Solid Winds for hacking Russian intelligence services and take steps to approve some of the individuals and entities involved.” “The scale and scope of this hack is somehow beyond what we have seen before and should make it clear that we will hold Russia and other opponents responsible for carrying out such malicious cyber activity against US targets.”
Many Republican members of Congress, praising the president’s action, are demanding more measures – particularly to halt the controversial Nord Watch project.
“If the Biden administration is serious about imposing real costs on the Putin regime’s efforts to weaken American democratic institutions and weaken our allies and allies, it must ensure that the Russian lethal impact Nord Stream 2 pipeline project never completes. Happens, “House Foreign Affairs Committee chief Republican Michael McCall said in a statement.
Nord Stream 2 is a multibillion-dollar underwater gas pipeline project connecting Russia to Germany. Work on the pipeline was suspended in December 2019 after it became a source of controversy between Russia and the West.
Nord Stream officials said Russia resumed construction on the gas pipeline in December. The United States has opposed the joint international project because of potential threats to Europe’s energy security. Nord Stream 2 aims to double the annual gas capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline.
“Nord Stream 2 is a complex issue affecting our allies in Europe,” Biden responded to a reporter after his speech. He said he has long been opposed to the project and that it “is still an issue that is in play.”
Biden’s administration had already approved seven Russian officials and more than a dozen governmental entities in response to Russia’s treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
US action on Thursday expanded restrictions on primary market purchases of ruble-dominated Russian sovereign debt, effective 14 June.
A senior administration official explained the move, stating, “There is no credible reason that the American people should fund Russia’s government directly because the Putin regime has repeatedly attempted to reduce our sovereignty.” ” “We are also giving a clear indication that the President has maximum flexibility to extend the sovereign debt prohibition if Russia’s lethal activities continue or escalate.”
Russia has largely ignored previous US sanctions, which were narrow and primarily targeted individuals.
Cyrus Newlin said, “These are ‘unfinished trade sanctions’, which remove the Biden administration’s more empowered approach to dealing with Russia. The measures are dialed in to make a good impact on Biden’s promises. Center for Strategic And collaborates with the Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program in International Studies.
According to Nina Jankowicz, a Wilson Center’s disruptive partner, “I think we can continue targeting against Russian intelligence agencies, possibly Russian government figures and their families, which some sanctions experts are pushing for . ” “This is the tip of the entire iceberg of responses available to the US government, both public and non-republican, which we can take in response to Russia’s malicious cybersecurity.”
“The economic consequences for Russia will be quite modest: the Russian financial system is much more untouched by sanctions than in 2014, and new restrictions on sovereign debt are not up to secondary markets. I doubt Moscow will reciprocate with diplomatic expulsion ., But preserving the political space for a bilateral summit, which the Kremlin CSIS Newlin said “holds high value.”
“The Biden administration has reserved more punishment restriction options in the event of further Russian invasion into Ukraine,” Newlin said. “These could be an extension of sovereign debt restrictions to secondary markets or measures to target Russian state-owned companies and banks. Against the backdrop of Ukraine, today’s measures also serve as a warning shot . “
Jankowicz said he agrees with that assessment, “The timing of this is quite significant, as we have seen a build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, the most significant buildup since 2014.”
According to Andrea Kendall-Taylor, senior partner and director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, this package of sanctions is not really related to the relationship with Ukraine. She describes it as a way to wrap up incomplete trade with other issues of the Biden administration, allowing it to become the pivot of “a more active, future-oriented relationship with Russia”.
VOA’s Catherine Jipson and Pitty Vidakuswara contributed to this report.