The White House announced a series of sanctions against Russian Federation on Thursday in response to a massive hacking campaign that breached vital federal agencies, as well as for election interference.
Washington also banned US financial institutions from buying Russian bonds from Russia's central bank, Finance Ministry or national wealth fund. These activities are threatening and destabilising.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that the announcement is meant to "impose costs on the Russian government for its unacceptable conduct, including by limiting Russia's ability to finance its activities and by targeting Russia's malicious and disruptive cyber capabilities".
The statement said "no known Canadian entities have been exploited to date", but investigations are ongoing.
To that effect, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia for "undermining the conduct of free and fair elections and democratic institutions" in the U.S. and for its role in facilitating the sprawling SolarWinds hack, while also barring six technology companies in the country that provide support to the cyber program run by Russian Intelligence Services.
In a potentially conciliatory gesture, the US this week dropped plans to send two warships into the Black Sea after Russian Federation warned the move would be "extremely provocative".
The administration took action to punish Russian Federation for interfering in USA elections, stealing information and activities in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
The 10 diplomats being expelled include representatives of Russian intelligence services, the Biden administration said.
The administration said it was now highly confident that Cosy Bear was behind the "broad-scope cyber espionage campaign" that exploited malicious code inserted into the SolarWinds Orion platform and some other IT infrastructures.
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"These actions are meant to hold Russian Federation to account for its reckless actions". The sanctions are hostile steps that heighten the countries' confrontation, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
He also reaffirmed USA support to allies and partners in Europe, saying he urged Putin "to refrain from any military action" over Ukraine.
"Their views categorically do not coincide when it comes to creating mutually beneficial relations and taking each other's interests into account", Peskov said of Putin and Biden. The White House did not publicly confirm the reports.
"However, given the current state of Russia's budget (in 1Q21 the budget was in surplus), low level of sovereign debt, conservative fiscal policy and high volume of accumulated reserves the ban on new debt purchases is unlikely to have significant implications for the state of Russia's finances or for the economy at large", he said.
The US proposal for a first meeting between the presidents this summer has been welcomed - but not yet accepted - by the Kremlin.
Russian Federation has repeatedly rejected accusations that it meddles in elections, poisons its critics or offered to pay bounties for the killing of American troops.
Peskov did not say when Putin would decide on counter sanctions, though Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday retaliatory sanctions would come soon.
She said the ministry has summoned the USA ambassador for a "hard conversation", but wouldn't immediately say what action Russian Federation will take. The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russian Federation, which promised a retaliatory response. Biden administration officials have made clear in their contacts with the Russian Federation side that they are hoping to avoid a "downward spiral" in the relationship, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity following the sanctions announcement.
The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russian Federation for actions that USA officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money. "The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process", Biden said.
He said Putin's decision would be given in the time and manner that Putin saw fit. Putin later recalled his ambassador to the USA and pointed to US history, including slavery and the atomic bombing of Japan in the Second World War.