Antony Blinken: Why U.S. is holding Russia to account

The United States Secretary of States on Thursday explained why the Biden administration has imposed new sanctions on Russia.

“Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” Blinken said in a statement.

President Putin at First ever Russia-Africa summit, Sochi 2019 
President Putin at First ever Russia-Africa summit, Sochi 2019

“We have engaged Russian authorities to share our concerns about their actions and the steps we are taking in response. The President is signing a new Executive Order on Russia that will broaden the scope of our sanctions authoritiesUnder this new Executive Order, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is issuing a directive prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from conducting transactions in the primary market for new ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021. This Executive Order also provides authority for the U.S. government to expand sovereign debt sanctions on Russia as appropriate. 

“The U.S. Department of State is also expelling 10 officials from Russia’s bilateral mission.  In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is announcing sanctions against entities and individuals involved in election interference and against companies that support the malign activities of the Russian intelligence services responsible for the SolarWinds intrusion and other recent cyber incidents.  These sanctions will serve to reduce Russian resources available to carry out similar malign activities. 

“In addition, together with partners and allies, on March 2 the U.S.  responded to Russia’s attempt to poison Aleksey Navalny using a chemical weapon and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment.  We remain concerned about Navalny’s health and treatment in prison, and call for his unconditional release.

“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. 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.

“Additionally, the State Department is taking steps to bolster cybersecurity partnerships internationally, including by providing a new training course with partners on the policy and technical aspects of publicly attributing cyber incidents and by supporting trainings on responsible state behavior in cyberspace.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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