Russian Federation studies ‘reciprocity’ action against USA after latest sanctions

Joe Biden announced sanctions on Russia on Thursday for its election meddling and cyber attacks

Joe Biden announced sanctions on Russia on Thursday for its election meddling and cyber attacks

The sanctions also target Moscow's ability to borrow money by prohibiting USA financial institutions from buying Russian bonds directly from Russian institutions.

The administration announced sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny last month but has so far held off on action in the other three areas.

Biden said there were "critical global challenges that require Russian Federation and the United States to work together, including reining in nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, ending this (coronavirus) pandemic globally, and meeting the existential crisis of climate change".

The statement said "no known Canadian entities have been exploited to date", but investigations are ongoing.

Also on the list of those sanctioned was the Kremlin's first deputy chief of staff, Alexei Gromov, several individuals linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Russia's president, nicknamed "Putin's chef" for serving Kremlin functions, and a number of front companies that U.S. Treasury says help Prigozhin evade sanctions imposed earlier.

Russian Federation swiftly denounced the actions and warned of retaliation.

In concert with the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada, the Treasury also put sanctions on eight individuals associated with Moscow's occupation of Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Ten Russian diplomats, including those with ties to intelligence services, are also expelled.

He did not prohibit them, however, from buying such debt in the secondary market, a step likely to have a far more dramatic effect on the Russian bond and currency markets, which fell as news of the sanctions seeped out before recovering some losses. As a result, the White House does not see the sanctions and other actions as a direct response to the bounties, the official told reporters.

The United States has imposed new sanctions and restrictions on Russia in response to actions by the Russian government and intelligence services against US interests and sovereignty, according to an executive order issued by President Joe Biden on Thursday, April 15.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: 'These actions are meant to hold Russian Federation to account for its reckless actions.

The White House also said President Joe Biden was using diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to respond to reports that Russian Federation encouraged the Taliban to attack US and allied troops in Afghanistan based on the "best assessments" of the intelligence community. This includes, in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; engage in and facilitate malicious cyber activities against the United States and its allies and partners; foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and violate well-established principles of global law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states.

The US proposal for a first meeting between the presidents this summer has been welcomed - but not yet accepted - by the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks against the West
Vladimir Putin has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks against the West Credit GETTY IMAGES

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

He said the presidents' talk was "very constructive, calm, and responsible".

She said the ministry has summoned the US ambassador for a "hard conversation", but wouldn't immediately say what action Russian Federation will take.

Andrew Weiss, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank analyst, was sceptical the United States sanctions would change a "largely competitive and adversarial relationship" in the short term or deter Russian Federation in the long term.

Up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers are believed to have received the trojanized Orion update, although the attackers carefully selected their targets, opting to escalate the attacks only in a handful of cases by deploying Teardrop malware based on an initial reconnaissance of the target environment for high-value accounts and assets.

Sir Philip also stated the UK's concern at the build up of Russian military forces near the Ukrainian border and illegally-annexed Crimea.

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

He said that during a phone call earlier this week he was "clear with President Putin that we could have gone further" but added that Washington is "not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russian Federation". Putin later recalled his ambassador to the USA and pointed to US history, including slavery and the atomic bombing of Japan in the Second World War.

The actions announced Thursday include economic measures, or sanctions, on six Russian companies that support the country's hacking activities. The administration took action to punish Russian Federation for interfering in US elections, stealing information and activities in Afghanistan and Ukraine. And though Trump was often reluctant to criticize Putin, his administration also expelled diplomats in 2018 for Russia's alleged poisoning of an ex-intelligence officer in Britain.

United States officials are still grappling with the after effects of the SolarWinds intrusion which affected agencies including the Treasury Justice Energy and Homeland Security departments and are still assessing what information may have been stolen. The breach exposed vulnerabilities in the private supply chain as well as weaknesses in the federal government's own cyber defenses.

Biden has described the sanctions, which are aimed at the Russian economy and dozens of individuals, as a "measured and proportionate" response to Moscow's hostile actions against the United States.

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