U.S. slaps new sanctions on Russia over cyber attack, election meddling

Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown at a meeting on Wednesday. The U.S. is imposing new sanctions against a group of Russian entities and personnel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is proven at a gathering on Wednesday. The U.S. is imposing new sanctions towards a bunch of Russian entities and personnel.

Alexei Druzhinin / AP

Updated April 15, 2021 at 11:48 AM ET

President Biden is ordering a new spherical of financial sanctions on Russia — a response partly to Moscow’s election meddling and a Kremlin-linked laptop breach that penetrated quite a few U.S. authorities networks.

The sanctions are additionally meant to impose a penalty over Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea, which it infiltrated and annexed from Ukraine seven years in the past, and for reportedly providing bounties for assaults towards U.S. and coalition navy personnel in Afghanistan.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in U.S. elections or on providing the bounties. Moscow has additionally stated that it has nothing to do with the SolarWinds laptop assault.

Speaking after the measures had been made official, Russian international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated the “aggressive behavior” would result in an “inevitable” response and that the U.S. would “pay” for the deterioration in relations.

“The United States is not ready to come to terms with the objective reality that there is a multipolar world that excludes American hegemony,” Zakharova said.

In December, reports emerged that U.S. know-how agency SolarWinds had been hit by a cyber assault that went undetected for months as the corporate despatched out software program updates with the hackers’ code to its purchasers worldwide. The assault — first recognized by cybersecurity agency FireEye when its personal methods had been discovered to have been compromised — later allowed hackers to infiltrate U.S. authorities networks, together with these utilized by the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, talking with NCS on Thursday, stated that the White House believes the sanctions “are proportionate measures to defend American interests in response to harmful Russia actions including cyber intrusions and election interference.”

A reality sheet launched by the White House on Thursday morning stated, “The Biden administration has been clear that the United States desires a relationship with Russia that is stable and predictable.”

“We do not think that we need to continue on a negative trajectory,” it stated. “However, we have also been clear — publicly and privately —that we will defend our national interests and impose costs for Russian Government actions that seek to harm us.”

According to the White House, the most recent sanctions goal greater than 30 Russian entities and people it says are concerned in election meddling. The U.S. is expelling 10 personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission to be expelled from the nation. The sanctions additionally goal six Russian tech corporations believed to offer assist to Russian intelligence.

The sanctions additionally embody a prohibition on U.S. monetary establishments collaborating within the commerce of bonds utilized by the Russian authorities after June 14, 2021. They go away open the chance “to expand sovereign debt sanctions on Russia as appropriate.”

On NCS, Sullivan stated that in a phone name with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, Biden made clear that “his goal is to provide a significant and credible response, but not to escalate the situation.”

He reiterated Biden’s intention to fulfill straight with Putin at an upcoming summit.

“We believe that all together, both the actions we are taking today and that broader diplomacy, can produce a better set of outcomes for U.S.-Russia relations,” Sullivan stated.

Senior administration officers, talking to reporters on background, stated the U.S. has “no desire to be in an escalatory cycle with Russia” and that the sanctions are meant to be “proportionate and tailored” to the Kremlin’s previous actions.

While the most recent sanctions are meant as a response to Russia’s meddling within the 2020 presidential election, they observe on from Obama-era sanctions that referred to as out the Kremlin for comparable interference within the 2016 presidential race.

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly downplayed or denied any Russian involvement within the 2016 elections, repeatedly calling the charge a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”

A new U.S. intelligence report released last month confirmed that Russian sought as soon as once more to help Trump in final yr’s election.

NPR’s Lucian Kim contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see extra, go to https://www.npr.org.


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