President Joe Biden signed an order on Thursday, April 16, sanctioning Russia for the Solar Winds cyberattacks on U.S. federal agencies and other misconduct, such as attempts to meddle in American elections.
“Today, I’ve approved several steps, including expulsion of several Russian officials, as a consequence of their actions. I’ve also signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions to address specific harmful actions that Russia has taken against U.S. interests,” Biden said in his remarks.
The move is part of a growing U.S. campaign to punish Moscow for its intended interference in the 2020 presidential election, its cyberespionage activity involving SolarWinds, and its takeover of Crimea.
The step coincides with Russia’s amassing armed units at Ukraine’s border, worrying the world community.
In his executive order, Biden said Russia’s actions “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
According to Politico, the latest sanctions follow a call between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Biden suggested the two talk in a third nation in the following months.
In a letter to Congress, Biden described the order as a response to Russian “efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners.”
The order contains a Treasury Department intervention to prevent American financial firms from purchasing bonds provided by local Russian banks that would benefit Russia’s government.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “designated five individuals and three entities” for punishment in response to Russia’s behavior in Ukraine. Russia claims Crimea as its territory. OFAC Director Andrea Gacki said the designations would help “impose additional costs on Russia for its forceful integration with Crimea and highlight the abuses that have taken place under Russia’s attempted annexation.”
The Biden administration made the decision in response to the SolarWinds cyberattacks, which affected dozens of federal and private organizations in the United States. The U.S. Treasury Department punished technology firms and malicious cyber actors for allegedly supporting Russian intelligence services and the SolarWinds cyber assault.
“32 entities and individuals carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and other acts of disinformation and interference,” according to Biden’s order.
According to the White House, ten Russian diplomats in the U.S. have been ejected, including staff from Russian intelligence services.
According to the White House, Biden’s decision was enacted partly in response to reports that Russia paid the Taliban bounties in exchange for assaults on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the penalties were linked to Russian actions—poisoning and then apprehending Aleksey Navalny, a Russian attorney who has spoken out against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration.
“Where possible, the United States will also seek opportunities for cooperation with Russia, to build a more stable and predictable relationship consistent with U.S. interests.”
Biden’s overtures to Moscow, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, were not genuine. It tweeted, “The US is not ready to put up with the objective reality of a #multipolar world.”
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) April 15, 2021
Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the punishments were unlawful and that Russia would respond in kind.