U.S. imposes sanctions on Moscow, expels 10 Russian diplomats

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The United States on Thursday announced a sweeping series of sanctions against Russian Federation over election interference, cyber hacking, and other "harmful foreign activities", it said, including reports of Russian Federation offering "bounties" for Taliban attacks against USA troops, and Russia's occupation and alleged human rights abuses in Crimea.

The U.S. also said it was sanctioning "five individuals and three entities related to Russia's occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and its severe human rights abuses against the local population".

The wider sanctions forbid USA financial institutions from taking part in the market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds, or lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to Russia's Central Bank, National Wealth Fund or Ministry of Finance; sanction 32 entities and individuals thought to be involved in attempts to throw the controversial 2020 U.S. presidential election off course, and eight individuals and entities associated with Russia's attacks on Ukraine and continued illegal occupation of Crimea; and expel 10 intelligence operatives from Russia's Washington DC embassy.

Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a televised briefing said Ambassador John Sullivan had been summoned for a "difficult conversation".

The adversary's compromise of the SolarWinds software supply chain is said to have given it the ability to remotely spy or potentially disrupt more than 16,000 computer systems worldwide, according to the executive order issued by the USA government.

The SVR actor is also known by other names such as APT29, Cozy Bear, and The Dukes, with the threat group being tracked under different monikers, including UNC2452 (FireEye), SolarStorm (Palo Alto Unit 42), StellarParticle (CrowdStrike), Dark Halo (Volexity), and Nobelium (Microsoft).

President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on USA 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.

Читайте также: 'There will be consequences': U.S. warns Russian Federation against aggression in Ukraine

They come amid an already tense relationship between the US and Russia, with US President Joe Biden telling Russian President Vladimir Putin this week that the US would "act firmly in defence of its national interests" regarding Russian intrusions and election interference.

Biden's order "sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russian Federation if it continues or escalates its destabilizing global action", the White House said in a statement. The US for the first time explicitly linked that intrusion to a Russian intelligence service.

In Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance said USA allies "support and stand in solidarity with the United States, following its 15 April announcement of actions to respond to Russia's destabilizing activities".

"These actions are meant to hold Russian Federation to account for its reckless actions", he said in the statement.

President Joe Biden's broadside against Russian Federation came the same week as he offered to meet President Vladimir Putin for their first summit - a meeting United States officials say remains "vital" so that the two countries can deescalate.

In addition, Treasury Department targeted Russia's sovereign wealth, prohibiting USA financial institutions from certain dealings with Russian sovereign debt. The White House announced that summit proposal earlier this week.

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