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World Russia Says U.S. SolarWinds Sanctions Could Lead to Confrontation

14:06  15 april  2021
14:06  15 april  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

Biden administration sets the stage for retaliation against Russia over SolarWinds, election interference: report

  Biden administration sets the stage for retaliation against Russia over SolarWinds, election interference: report The Biden administration completed an intelligence review of alleged Russian meddling, setting the stage for retaliatory actions, Bloomberg reported.The review could set the stage for possible retaliatory actions like enacting sanctions or expulsion of Russian intel officers in the US, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

A Russian government official has warned sanctions the U.S. is reportedly set to impose on Moscow heighten the prospect of confrontation between the nations.

a group of people standing in front of a tall building: The Kremlin and skyscrapers of the Moscow International Business Centre are pictured ) in Moscow on December 17, 2020. Russia faces U.S. sanctions over the Solar Winds hack which the Kremlin denies responsibility for. © YURI KADOBNOV/Getty Images The Kremlin and skyscrapers of the Moscow International Business Centre are pictured ) in Moscow on December 17, 2020. Russia faces U.S. sanctions over the Solar Winds hack which the Kremlin denies responsibility for.

Moscow's first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, made these remarks following reports Russian officials and companies will be hit with punitive measures.

Forthcoming Russia sanctions won't include Nord Stream 2

  Forthcoming Russia sanctions won't include Nord Stream 2 DOJ's legal approval for a new slate of sanctions to stop the Russia-Germany pipeline was reversed recently.The Justice Department gave legal sign-off last month to at least two sanctions packages targeting Nord Stream 2 AG, the company responsible for the planning, construction and subsequent operation of the pipeline, and its CEO Matthias Warnig. But that legal approval was reversed last week amid an ongoing internal debate over which entities meet the legal threshold for sanctions, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are reportedly due to be implemented to punish the Kremlin for a cybersecurity hack on U.S. government departments, targeting SolarWinds software, and interference in the 2020 U.S. election.

Russia has denied being behind these actions.

Sources quoted by Bloomberg and Reuters said that up to 30 so far unnamed entities will be sanctioned. They also said up to 10 Russian officials are expected to be expelled from the United States.

Polyanskiy tweeted a CNN article describing the measures, expected to be announced on Thursday.

He added a message in English: "Well, actions speak stronger than words!

"If that's true and US continues to promote its baseless accusations it will get adequate response and deprive the world of maybe the last opportunity to avoid Great Powers' confrontation instead of solving acute problems.

"Not our choice!"

The Biden administration is also expected to issue an executive order which would ban U.S. financial institutions from purchasing ruble-denominated bonds from Russia's central bank, finance ministry and sovereign-wealth fund from June, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Russian media outlets focused on the impact the impending sanctions will have on the currency, the ruble, which sank by one percent in relation to the dollar early on Thursday.

US pins SolarWinds cyberattack on Russian intelligence agency

  US pins SolarWinds cyberattack on Russian intelligence agency The Biden administration is accusing Russia of carrying out the sweeping cyberattack on the U.S. government and American businesses through a SolarWinds Orion management software update. © Provided by Washington Examiner The Biden administration announced Thursday that the United States had "high confidence" that Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (also known as SVR, APT 29, Cozy Bear, and the Dukes) was behind the expansive online intrusion. As part of sweeping sanctions against Russia for the espionage campaign and other aggressive cyberactivity against the U.S.

U.S. intelligence officials say that the breach of SolarWinds software, which was discovered in December 2020, was likely the work of Moscow-backed hackers. The Kremlin denies any responsibility.

The breach was described by Microsoft president Brad Smith as the "most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen." It gave hackers access to thousands of U.S. companies and government departments.

The sanctions are also in response to the conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to influence Americans to vote for former President Donald Trump and sway the electorate away from President Joe Biden. The Kremlin denies responsibility.

The U.S. State Department had not been satisfied with the initial sanctions that were proposed and demanded more expanded measures which is why their rollout has taken longer than expected, CNN reported.

Sanctions are also reportedly in the offing over reports that Moscow offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The forthcoming measures add to tensions following Biden agreeing with the assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "killer" in an interview in March. The pair are due to meet face-to-face in a third country in the coming months.

Newsweek has contacted the State Department and Polyanskiy for comment.

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