In a major escalation with Moscow, the Biden administration announced on Thursday a series of sanctions against Russian individuals and entities. The White House also said it is expelling 10 Russian diplomats.
In an announcement on the sanctions, the State Department said they were being taken in “response” to a series of alleged Russian actions that the US has never proved Moscow was responsible for.
“Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 US elections,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The claim that Russia paid bounties for US troops in Afghanistan has no basis and was even walked back by Biden administration officials on Thursday. The claim first appeared in a report from The New York Times last June, and since then, just about every US military leader said no intelligence corroborated the report.
Putting the final nail in the coffin of the Russian bounty story, a senior Biden administration official told The Daily Beast on Thursday: “The United States intelligence community assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks US and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019 and perhaps earlier.”
The fact that the Russia story has essentially been debunked but is still included in the State Department’s list of grievances with Moscow shows what little credibility the US has with any accusations against the Russian government.
The SolarWinds intrusion is the main incident the US is sanctioning Russia over, but the claim that Moscow was behind the hack is also highly dubious. Announcing the new sanctions, the Treasury Department formally accused Russian Intelligence Services of being behind the hack. Missing from the accusation is any evidence.
Before the Treasury Department’s claim, the only formal accusation from the US came from several intelligence agencies that said in a joint statement that the SolarWinds hack was “likely” Russian in origin. The statement lacked any evidence.
One reason the US claims the SolarWinds hack was done by Russian intelligence was the “sophistication” of the intrusion. But congressional testimony from SolarWinds’ current and former CEO revealed the software firm’s server password “solarwinds123” was publicly available on the internet for years. A cybersecurity expert that used to advise SolarWinds said the hack “could have been done by any attacker, easily.”
The US also cited alleged interference in the 2020 election while announcing the sanctions. Last month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an assessment that claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign that sought to “denigrate” Biden in the 2020 election. But again, missing from the assessment was any evidence or explanation of how US intelligence reached the conclusion.
The new sanctions came after Biden spoke with Putin on the phone on Tuesday and proposed an in-person meeting. On Wednesday, Russia warned that it would take measures in response to any “unfriendly steps” by the US. Kremlin spokesman said new sanctions from the US would mean Biden’s “words” would not “correlate” with his actions, referring to Biden’s call with Putin where he said the US and Russia should work together on things like arms control.
President Biden had earlier imposed sanctions on Russian officials over the jailing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Biden’s rhetoric has also been incredibly hostile. In an interview last month, Biden agreed that Putin is a “killer” who has “no soul.”
The new US sanctions also come against the backdrop of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which has led the US to reaffirm its “unwavering” support for Kyiv. The US reportedly canceled a planned deployment of warships to the Black Sea amid the Ukraine stand-off, but the sanctions indicate Biden is keen on escalating with Moscow.
11 thoughts on “Biden Imposes Wide Array of New Russia Sanctions, Expels Diplomats”
I’m experiencing more than tad bit of confusion, as I’m sure many other observers as well as the Russians are experiencing, as to whether there is any logic to the demented actions of joebama; calling putin a killer, than proposing a meeting, than slapping severe sanctions does not compute as a sane and logical “foreign policy.”
The basic question is whether the entire admin is as demented as bidet seems to be.
“reports of bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan”
Slick. Prove them wrong. There WERE reports.
Right up there with “linked with al-Qaeda”.
Any reports of US military minding our own business?
Those would be just as (un)believable as the “reports” on the Russian bounties.
Fact is that the US has been defeated in Afghanistan same as in Vietnam in 1975. Their futile “sanctions” are signs of powerlessness and frustration. US has been warned by Putin not to send more warships into the Black Sea. The two destroyers already on their way had to return. The upshot is that both China and Russia have in military technology superseded the US. However an animal being cornered, can be a very dangerous animal.
I read the other day that our vaunted military is now #3. Never mind that we spend more on the military than the others combined, just like proverbial drunken sailors.
The Nazi putsch junta in the ukraine is ready jump when the US says so.. But reality is i another thing as the US chickening out from threats in the Black Sea after the reality of a very determined and fully armed Russian precense came down like a ton of bricks on Washington, Pentagram and CIA.
Reality according to a new Russian doctrine is that US is not only declared a non agreement capable “partner” but a right out hostile enemy. That means that whatever US/ NATO force that sails into the black sea will from hereon find itself locked on to, followed, harassed, made dead & blind and if provocation continues, neutralized. (Hence USS/Donald Duck & Co chickening out) That goes interestingly enough for US occupation forces stealing oil and burning down crops in Syria too. They will be the subject for everything i counted above, FROM RUSSIA. Have i nice killing spree down there “boys” things will change for you and not for the better.
“The US reportedly canceled a planned deployment of warships to the Black Sea amid the Ukraine stand-off, but the sanctions indicate Biden is keen on escalating with Moscow.”
President Putin just saved what’s left of Biden’s political ass and prevented a massacre of US military personnel.
This tit-for-tat will continue until no US diplomatic, intelligence, and military personnel are left in Russia.
Wash. has become a runaway train heading to WWIII unless the American people do something about it or the military refuses to fight any longer, but neither of those solutions will happen.
We have too many people in America running around saying, “USA! USA! USA!, we are number one!
They want peace, while at the same time they want is to show power.
There may be a change of heart should missiles do land in the U.S..
We have been too cozy with two oceans protecting us, two friendlies, one to the North, on to the South. The rest of the countries have had their share of war, destruction, death.
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