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Biden administration slaps new sanctions on Russia for cyberattacks, election interference

The Biden administration imposed a raft of new sanctions against Moscow on Thursday over alleged interference in the 2020 election, a colossal cyberattack against U.S. government and corporate networks, illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, and human rights abuses. “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took sweeping action against 16 entities and 16 individuals who attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government,” the Treasury said in a statement. It also announced sanctions on five individuals and three entities linked to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and human rights abuses.

In addition to the broad sanctions issued by the Treasury, the State Department announced it will expel 10 officials from Russia’s diplomatic mission in the United States. The sanctions come following President Joe Biden’s phone call this week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and as Russian force amass near the Ukraine border. Washington formally accused Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR — its top spy agency — of being behind the SolarWinds cyberattack publicized late last year, described by Microsoft President Brad Smith as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”

Biden also signed an executive order Thursday that allows Washington to sanction any sector of Moscow’s economy, significantly broadening the scope of sanctions authority. Taking a tougher stance on Russia was one of Biden’s foreign policy campaign pledges. The measures announced Thursday join a series of past moves: the Obama administration’s debt financing restrictions for major Russian companies like Rosneft, and the Trump administration’s ban on U.S. entities buying Russia’s foreign currency government loans. The ruble pared some of its day’s losses against the greenback shortly after the sanctions news, trading at 76.3025 to the dollar at 4 p.m. local time compared with 77.0718 just before the details of the sanctions were announced.

Biden administration slaps new sanctions on Russia for cyberattacks, election interference, CNBC, Apr 16

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