Russia Bans Top Biden Officials As Tensions Soar


President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on United States banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said.

The White House also said President Joe Biden was using diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to respond to reports that Russian Federation encouraged the Taliban to attack US and allied troops in Afghanistan based on the "best assessments" of the intelligence community.

On Thursday, Washington had announced sanctions and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats in retaliation for what it says is interference by the Kremlin in USA elections, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity.

"My bottom line is this, it is in the USA interests to work with Russia", Biden said, "And we will, but we stand up for ourselves and our allies".

In addition, Treasury issued a directive that prohibits US financial institutions from participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and provided authority for the USA government to expand sovereign debt sanctions on Russia as appropriate.

The Russian foreign ministry said John Sullivan, the USA ambassador to Russia, should return home for consultations too.

Biden's offer earlier this week of a summit had amounted to a peace offering, as tensions between Russian Federation and the West have escalated over the conflict in Ukraine and the new penalties levied by Washington.

Tougher restrictions would also hurt Western businesses, inflict significant economic pain on the Russian population and allow Putin to rally anti-U.S. sentiments to shore up his rule.

Russian Federation on Friday responded to a barrage of new US sanctions by saying it would expel 10 USA diplomats and take other retaliatory moves in a tense showdown with Washington.

This year even before the recent alarm over the Ukraine conflict, tensions had ratcheted up sharply after the United States slapped sanctions on Russian Federation over the poisoning of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.

"It's very important that there're no sanctions on secondary debt because that means that non-U.S. persons can buy the debt and sell it to the USA persons", said Tom Adshead, director of research at Macro-Advisory Ltd, an analytics and advisory company.

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Markey (D-Mass.) echoed that argument, saying , "The Republicans stole two seats on the Supreme Court and now it is up to us to fix that damage".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday said Putin had long talked about the importance of normalizing relations between Moscow and Washington.

Commenting on Biden's proposal for a meeting between the two leaders in a third country, Peskov said it would "take some time to analyze the proposal".

Despite the increased tensions between the two countries, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Friday it was "good" that Biden wanted a dialogue even as he criticized fresh US sanctions.

United States forces in Europe raised their alert status in response, while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation issued warnings to Moscow.

Biden, after imposing sanctions on Moscow, had called for a de-escalation in tensions and had said it was vital the White House and Kremlin kept communication lines open.

"The Russian market felt some relief", the Renaissance Capital investment bank said in an analyst note on Friday, because the sanctions were "moderate".

In concert with the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada, the Treasury also put sanctions on eight individuals associated with Moscow's occupation of Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Relations have plunged further more recently, with Washington accusing Moscow of interfering in its presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.

She said the ministry has summoned the USA ambassador for a "hard conversation", but wouldn't immediately say what action Russian Federation will take.

In a television interview last month, Biden replied "I do" when asked if he thought Putin was a "killer".