The Biden administration on Thursday announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats as well as new sanctions on the country, over alleged interference in the 2020 election.
The executive order: President Joe Biden signed an executive order declaring Russia’s threat a national emergency. The White House informed Congress of the president’s decision in a letter, pointing to “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”
The letter accused Russia of attempting to”undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections,” by engaging in “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” and violating international law.
The Treasury separately announced sanctions on 32 individuals and companies accused of interfering in November’s presidential election, including by spreading disinformation. They also sanctioned eight people and entities linked to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
“These actions are intended to hold Russia to account for its reckless actions. We will act firmly in response to Russian actions that cause harm to us or our allies and partners,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “Where possible, the United States will also seek opportunities for cooperation with Russia, with the goal of building a more stable and predictable relationship consistent with U.S. interests.”
Bilnken also pointed to the suspected poisoning of top Putin political rival Alexei Navalny.
“We remain concerned about Navalny’s health and treatment in prison, and call for his unconditional release,” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, the State Department said it’s expelling 10 officials from Russia’s diplomatic mission in the U.S.
Russia has denied allegations that the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVP, was behind the SolarWind cyberattack or that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin authorized attempts to interfere in the 2020 election.
Russia’s response: Fox News reports that spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “W]e condemn any pursuit of sanctions, we consider them illegal. In any case, the principle of reciprocity in this matter is valid; reciprocity in a way that best serves our interests.”
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