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In addition to election meddling and cyber hacking, Biden puts new sanctions on Russia.
In reaction to Russian election meddling and cyber hacking, the Biden administration placed fresh restrictions on the government on Thursday and expelled diplomatic staff.
The White House said in a statement that “President Biden signed a new sanctions executive order that provides enhanced authorities to show the Administration’s commitment in reacting to and deterring the full extent of Russia’s dangerous international activities.”
The US officially identified the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service as the perpetrator of the SolarWinds attack, which targeted the federal government and large swaths of the private sector, as part of the announcement.
Biden’s aim, according to national security advisor Jake Sullivan, is to “provide a substantial and reliable response, but not intensify the crisis,” according to CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
According to Sullivan, Biden believes he and Russian President Vladimir Putin should meet “to discuss all of the problems that face our relationship.” According to Sullivan, the President believes the US and Russia will have a “secure and predictable alliance” and collaborate on arms control.
“We agree that by combining our current activities with wider diplomacy, we can achieve a greater range of results for US-Russia relations,” Sullivan said.
During their phone call on Tuesday, Biden and Putin “were direct with one another, they knew one another,” according to Sullivan.
“President Biden made no apologies for the fact that we will be taking steps this week,” Sullivan said, “but he also indicated that he needs to get to the equilibrium in this relationship, and he hopes that if President Putin is willing to do the same, we will find a path forward that does not lead to a spiral of conflict.”
According to two sources familiar with the preparations, the Biden administration is set to impose sanctions against Russian persons and institutions as soon as Thursday, in addition to additional financial controls and the expulsion of up to a dozen Russian diplomats from the US, in response to the SolarWinds hack and election interference.
One reason the implementation of these measures has taken longer than expected is that the White House was dissatisfied with the alternatives offered by the State Department and needed more extensive sanctions, according to a US official familiar with the preparations. During Biden’s first week in office, the White House announced an intelligence analysis of Russia’s “reckless and adversarial behavior” in a variety of areas.
According to a person familiar with the situation, the administration is planning to take action against Russia on Thursday and is working with European allies.
According to the officials, these actions will be implemented through an executive order from Biden as well as sanctions coordinated with the State Department and the Treasury Department. Officials from the State Department have contacted US allies and are preparing for possible Russian retaliation.
According to a US official familiar with the plans, the Russian diplomats who are being expelled are based in Washington, DC, and New York, and they will have 30 days to leave the country.
New financial sanctions will be imposed, including attempts to target Russian sovereign debt, which could damage Russia’s economy.
According to the officials, it is unknown if these sanctions would be sufficient to affect Russian actions.
A appeal for comment from the White House and the State Department was not promptly returned.
In the early days of Biden’s presidency, the Biden administration promised to respond to Russian aggressions against the US and its allies. On their first phone call, Biden questioned Putin on a variety of topics, ranging from a recent mega cyberattack to the alleged poisoning of the country’s top opposition figure. And the Biden administration has already rolled out sanctions for the jailing and poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
The retaliation against Russia comes when the Biden administration tries to keep diplomatic channels open and cooperate with Russia while it is in the US’ best interests. On their second phone call this week, Biden demonstrated this strategy by proposing a summit with Putin.
In addition, the Biden administration recently agreed to retain the Trump-appointed US ambassador in Moscow for the near future, and Putin has been invited to a climate change conference later this month.