The Biden administration has announced that the US is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against multiple individuals and companies. They say it is to hold the Kremlin accountable for their interference in last year’s presidential election and hacking of federal agencies.
The measures announced on Thursday are meant to punish Russia for actions that US officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter any future actions taken by the country by imposing economic costs on Moscow. “We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity,” Biden said. Sanctions will likely increase tensions with Russia and the country has discussed a possible response. The Russian government could take steps that harm the interests of U.S. businesses but will hold those in reserve for the moment, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on Friday.
There are sanctions against six Russian companies that support the country’s cyber efforts. This is the first retaliatory measure taken in response to the SolarWinds breach. The US also announced sanctions on 32 individuals and entities for allegedly attempting to interfere in last year’s election. US officials alleged in a declassified report last month that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help former President Trump in his re-election bid. US officials are accusing the country of spreading disinformation to influence the election although there has been no evidence shown to back up the claims.
Biden said that when he advised Putin days earlier on what action the US would be taking, he told the Russian president “that we could have gone further but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate.” Biden said, “we want a stable, predictable relationship.” Russia still made a quick response to the actions. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that “a series of retaliatory measures will come in the nearest time.”
Despite the new sanctions, Russia has not yet closed the door on Biden’s offer of a summit made in a phone call on Tuesday. The meeting comes after Russia has raised tensions by stationing troops on Ukraine’s borders. In the call, Biden told Putin to “de-escalate tensions” and said the US would “act firmly in defense of it’s national interests” regarding the election interference claims. The two leaders have been seeing rising tensions between each other. Last month Biden called Putin a “killer” in which Putin responded “it takes one to know one.” Putin later recalled his ambassador to the US.
ARTICLE: DUSTIN RODGERS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ROLLING STONE
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