Biden invites Russian Federation to a summer summit in Europe amid sanctions

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Biden said Thursday that the sanctions were "proportionate" and that he wanted a stable and predictable relationship with Russian Federation, adding that it was "time to de-escalate". The sanctions presumably meant to send a clear retributive message to Russian Federation and to deter similar acts in the future come amid an already tense relationship between the United States and Russian Federation. Officials have been advising that their response to Russian Federation would be in ways both seen and unseen.

President Joe Biden used a new executive order to authorize the actions, which also included a prohibition on US financial firms participating in the "primary" bond market maintained by Russia's Central Bank and other Russian institutions after June 14.

It came as Joe Biden said he was expelling 10 Russian diplomats in response to the Kremlin's targeting of federal agencies and attempts to interfere in last year's presidential election.

Reports of alleged "bounties" surfaced previous year, with the Trump administration coming under fire for not raising the issue directly with Russian Federation.

Up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers are believed to have received the trojanized Orion update, although the attackers carefully selected their targets, opting to escalate the attacks only in a handful of cases by deploying Teardrop malware based on an initial reconnaissance of the target environment for high-value accounts and assets. United States intelligence agencies have "low-to-moderate" confidence in their assessment of those reports, in part because they rely on sometimes undependable testimony from detainees, it said.

The actions would represent the second major round of sanctions imposed by the Biden administration against Russian Federation.

Vladimir Putin has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks against the West
Vladimir Putin has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks against the West Credit GETTY IMAGES

Neither move, however, affects Russian sovereign debt traded in the secondary market, meaning that US persons can continue to buy and sell such bonds there. The individuals who were targeted include Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant who worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The Kremlin gave an initially positive response to the idea but said Thursday that sanctions would not "help".

He said the competition between the world's leading intelligence services "should be fair".

After the sanctions were announced, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that "such aggressive behaviour will undoubtedly trigger a resolute retaliation".

He said the presidents' talk was "very constructive, calm, and responsible".

She said the foreign ministry had summoned the United States ambassador for a "hard conversation" but gave no further details of what actions would follow.

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A senior Russian official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that aren't public, called the new debt restrictions the least painful option since they don't affect the secondary market.

On Tuesday Niinisto spoke to Putin by phone and expressed "serious concern" over Russia's troop movements along the border with Ukraine.

"I think you should realize that the original initiative of trying to build those relations and establish a dialogue was put forward by President Putin", Peskov said.

Biden appears to be trying to strike a balance between defending USA national interests against Russian Federation while making clear he would prefer to have a less volatile relationship and to cooperate on issues such as curbing Iran's nuclear program. Putin later recalled his ambassador to the USA and pointed at the United States history of slavery and slaughtering Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.

The announcement follows an expansive review of Russia's activities, ranging from its interference in the 2020 USA presidential election to placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and includes a specific, tailored set of measures, leaving options for future action depending on how Moscow responds.

It remained unclear whether the USA actions would actually result in changed behavior especially since past measures by the U.S. have failed to bring an end to Russian hacking. And though Trump was often reluctant to criticize Putin, his administration also expelled diplomats in 2018 for Russia's alleged poisoning of an ex-intelligence officer in Britain.

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USA officials are still grappling with the aftereffects of the SolarWinds intrusion, which affected agencies including the Treasury, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security departments, and are still assessing what information may have been stolen. The breach exposed vulnerabilities in the private supply chain as well as weaknesses in the federal government's own cyber defenses.

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