US poised to impose sanctions on Russia for cyber-attacks

Henrietta Strickland
April 15, 2021

Meanwhile, even if the measures take effect, there is one "mitigating factor", the WSJ notes, as the American financial institutions would still be able to trade bonds on the secondary bond markets, without directly interacting with Russian government entities.

A slew of issues has soiled relations between the two countries.

Mr Biden confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin over a range of issues, from a recent massive cyberattack to the suspected poisoning of the country's leading opposition figure, during their first phone call.

They come amid an already tense relationship between the US and Russia, with US President Joe Biden telling Russian President Vladimir Putin this week that the US would "act firmly in defence of its national interests" regarding Russian intrusions and election interference.

A package of sanctions targeting several Russian officials will be coupled with orders also expelling some of them from the United States, according to one of the people.

Tensions have escalated between the two countries in recent months over a raft of issues, most recently over Russian Federation amassing troops on its border with Ukraine.

Biden has also vowed to take action on reports that Russian Federation offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill United States troops in Afghanistan.

In August 2019, Washington prohibited U.S. institutions from taking part in the primary market for non-ruble bonds issued by the Russian government and lent to Moscow.

Microsoft President Brad Smith described the attack, which was identified in December, as "the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen".

The sanctions will target intelligence and government officials and entities involved in the SolarWinds cyber intrusion, the officials said.

Together with Britain, Australia, Canada and the European Union, the United States will also sanction eight individuals and entities over the occupation of Crimea, the Journal reported.

The new measures targeted Moscow for alleged election interference, which Moscow has repeatedly dismissed as groundless.

Besides that hack, USA officials last month alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised influence operations to help Donald Trump in his unsuccessful bid for re-election as president, though there's no evidence Russia or anyone else changed votes or manipulated the outcome.

Hitting back at Russian Federation also comes as the Biden Administration has sought to keep open channels of diplomatic communication and to work with Russian Federation when it is in the US's interest.

In the past few weeks, Washington and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been alarmed by a large build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine and in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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