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US imposes sanctions on Russia over cyber-attacks





The US has announced sanctions against Russia in response to what it says are cyber-attacks and other hostile acts.


The measures, which target dozens of Russian entities and officials, aim to deter "Russia's harmful foreign activities", the White House said.


The statement says Russian intelligence was behind last year's massive "SolarWinds" hack, and accuses Moscow of interference in the 2020 election.


Russia denies all the allegations and says it will respond in kind.

The sanctions announced on Thursday are detailed in an executive order signed by President Joe Biden. They come at a tense time for relations between the two countries.


Last month the US targeted seven Russian officials and more than a dozen government entities over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russia says it was not involved.


In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Mr Biden vowed to defend US national interests "firmly", while proposing a meeting with Mr Putin to find areas where the two countries could work together.

What did the Biden administration say?


On Thursday, Mr Biden described his decision to impose sanctions on Russia as "proportionate".

"I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so," Mr Biden told reporters. "The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia."


He added that the way forwards is through "thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process".

A statement from the White House said the new sanctions show the US "will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia" if it continues its "destabilising international action".


It reaffirms the administration's view that the Russian government is behind cyber-attacks and has been trying to "undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections" in the US and allied nations.


It specifically blames Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, for the SolarWinds attack, which gave cyber-criminals access to 18,000 government and private computer networks.


Last December, then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he believed Russia was behind it.

The latest sanctions target 32 entities and officials accused of trying to influence the 2020 US presidential election "and other acts of disinformation".


Ten diplomats are being expelled. The executive order also bars US financial institutions from purchasing rouble-denominated bonds from June.

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