Published On: Fri, Apr 16th, 2021

Joe Biden penalises Russia over alleged cyber-attacks amid escalating tensions | World | News


US President Joe Biden spoke after the White House announced dozens of Russian entities and officials have been sanctioned to deter Moscow’s “harmful foreign activities”. In a statement, the White House accused Russia of involvement in the “SolarWinds” hack and interfering in the 2020 election.

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The Kremlin has denied all the allegations, and threatened to response in kind to the sanctions.

After the sanctions were announced earlier on Thursday, Mr Biden spoke from the White House to say the measures were a proportionate response to cyberattacks and alleged election fraud.

He said: “I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate.

“The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship.

“If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond.“

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Despite issuing new sanctions and reiterating the US’ “unwavering … support of our allies and partners in Europe”, Mr Biden insisted he did not want to inflame tensions.

He told reporters: “Now is the time to deescalate. The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process.

“The US is prepared to continue constructively to move forward that process. My bottom line is this. Where there’s an interest in the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will.

“Where Russia seeks to violate the interest of the United States, we will respond.”

Russia’s foreign ministry called the sanctions “hostile steps which dangerously raise the temperature of confrontation”.

In a statement, they added: “Such aggressive conduct will of course get a decisive response”.

The sanctions are not linked to recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which Mr Biden has condemned.

Ten Russian diplomats were also expelled from the US yesterday.

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Both US and UK intelligence agencies have blamed Russian intelligence service hackers for last year’s SolarWinds hack.

SolarWinds, a software company which supplies US federal and Government agencies, had its supply chain breached by attackers.

A report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in March also claimed Russia tried to meddle in last year’s US presidential election.

Mr Putin authorised “influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the US”, according to the report.

It follows Mr Biden demanding a summit with Mr Putin over Russia moving thousands of troops near Eastern Ukraine.

After a phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It is early to talk about this meeting in terms of specifics.”

Ukraine’s presidential spokeswoman, Yulia Mendel, said this week that Russia now had some 40,000 troops on the border with eastern Ukraine and a further 42,000 in Crimea, which was seized and then annexed by Russia in 2014.



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