The U.S. has announced plans to hit Russia with a series of sanctions over what it described as “harmful” cyber attacks against U.S. organisations, as well as election meddling at the hand of the Kremlin.
U.S. President Joe Biden took aim at Russia’s continued cyber attacks against American businesses, most notably, the high-profile SolarWinds cyber attacks, as well as Russia’s involvement in election meddling in both 2016, and 2020.
Announcing the round of sanctions against Russian entities and organisations, Biden said that the move was aimed at deterring “Russia’s harmful foreign activities.”
He said his country was not looking to perpetuate “a cycle of escalation and conflict” with Russia, insisting that the two countries need to resolve their differences and settle down tensions.
Russia has denied the accusations it was involved in the “harmful” cyber attacks.
President Biden has said in a statement that “my bottom line is this, where it is in the interest of the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will.”
“If Russia seeks to violate the interests of the United States, we will respond. We will always stand in defense of our country, our institutions, our people and our allies,” Biden said.
U.S. Hits Russia With Sanctions Over “Harmful” Cyber Attacks
White House press secretary, Jen Psaki added to the remarks stating that “our objective here is not to escalate, our objective is to impose costs for what we feel are unacceptable actions by the Russian government.”
The White House has said that the sanctions are aimed at combating Russian-launched cyber attacks, as well as punishment for Russia’s move to annex Ukraine with its occupation of Crimea, as well as news Russia had offered bounties for dead U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova has labelled the move as “aggressive behaviour” that is set to prompt an “inevitable” Russian response that would see America “pay” for its move to launch further sanctions.
“The United States is not ready to come to terms with the objective reality that there is a multipolar world that excludes American hegemony,” Zakharova said.
The sanctions target more than 30 Russian organisations and individuals who the U.S. say have had involvement in election meddling and cyber attacks. The U.S. expelled 10 Russians from a diplomatic mission located within its borders.
They also targeted six Russian technology firms that the U.S. believes was involved in the controversial SolarWinds hack.