United States announces new sanctions against Russia
On Thursday, April 15, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a new sanctions executive order “targeting the harmful foreign activities of the Russian Government.”
According to the White House fact sheet, the new sanctions are a response to attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, malicious cyber activities against U.S. government departments, and reports of Russia encouraging Taliban attacks against U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. The White House first announced plans to impose additional sanctions against Russia over the activities back in February.
The new measures include:
- Sanctions against six Russian technology companies that, according to the U.S. authorities, provide support to the Russian Intelligence Services’ in their cyber programs;
- Sanctions against 16 individuals and 16 legal entities involved in “carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election”;
- Sanctions against five individuals and three legal entities “associated with Russia’s ongoing occupation and repression in Crimea”;
- The expulsion of ten personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC (allegedly, some of them are Russian intelligence operatives);
- The expansion of sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt: as of June 14, U.S. investors will be banned from purchasing ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, or Finance Ministry on the primary market.
In addition, the U.S. formally named the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) as the perpetrator of the cyberattack on U.S. government departments through the SolarWinds Orion platform.
Update. Following the announcement of the sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan for a conversation, Interfax reported. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the conversation would be “difficult for the American side.” Zakharova also asserted that a Russian response to the sanctions “will be inevitable.” “Washington has to realize that a price will have to be paid for the degradation of bilateral relations. Responsibility for what is happening lies entirely with the U.S.,” she said.
This is the second package of sanctions the White House has imposed on Russia since Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in January 2021.
In March, the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions on a number of high-ranking Russian officials for their involvement in the persecution of opposition politician Alexey Navalny.