The Biden administration on Thursday slapped a new round of sanctions on Russia that could include measures targeting the country’s sovereign debt, a big move.
Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration intends to impose sanctions on 12 Russian individuals, including government and intelligence officials, and 20 entities, according to people familiar with the matter. The U.S. has accused these entities and individuals of hacking and meddling in U.S. elections.
At the same time, the United States will expel 10 Russian diplomats. Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated over Ukraine.
In early January, the U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a joint statement from the FBI and other agencies accusing Russia of being behind a massive cyber attack on customers of the cyber security company SolarWinds. Washington speculated that the purpose of the attacks on the U.S. government and other institutions was to gain intelligence, but it was later alleged that sensitive information was not obtained by the attackers.
Jack Sullivan, the US president’s national security adviser, said earlier that the US government was prepared to use a variety of tools to deal with cyber attacks, which should be “not just sanctions” but also “visible and invisible”.
In an earlier interview with ABC News television, Joe Biden said Putin would “pay a price” for alleged interference in the U.S. election.
Russia has repeatedly denied allegations that it interfered in the election, poisoned critics or offered to pay bounties for the killing of U.S. soldiers. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Russia would retaliate against any new sanctions, which he described as a ‘stupid’ tool.
Separately, Reuters, citing a person familiar with the matter, said the United States will announce a broad set of sanctions against Russia as early as Thursday, which are expected to include measures targeting Russian sovereign debt.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Biden administration would impose a series of retaliatory measures against Russia on Thursday.
The report notes two people familiar with the matter say Biden will pass a new executive order, a measure that would expand an existing ban on U.S. banks trading Russian government bonds.
An earlier ban on some of the country’s sovereign debt rattled Russian markets and added to its economic woes.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the order would bar U.S. financial institutions from directly buying new bonds from Russia’s central bank, finance ministry and the country’s vast sovereign wealth fund after June 14.