The White House said on Thursday that there were also five Russian intelligence service employees among the Washington mission’s diplomats. In addition, US financial companies will be banned from trading Russian government bonds, which will be issued from mid-June. Informed us.
A senior US government official said the move would increase the cost of servicing Moscow’s debt, lead to capital flight and weaken the ruble and the Russian economy. Russian countermeasures will soon follow. However, Russia, which is economically weak compared to the United States, cannot do anything to counter the sanctions.
As for Moscow, the news was not unexpected after a phone call between US President Joe Biden and his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. However, the Russian side reacted angrily after Biden offered Putin a face-to-face meeting and is now “turning the wheel of the big sanctions” again. Previous sanctions, including in the Ukrainian conflict and due to the poisoning of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny with the chemical warfare agent Novichuk, have already caused problems for Russia.
Despite the new sanctions, Washington does not want to increase tensions with Moscow, according to Biden. “The United States is not out to start a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday. He also warned: “If Russia continues to interfere in our democracy, I am ready to take further measures.” Biden said the sanctions now imposed could have been tougher. But he decided to act “proportionally”.
“The response to sanctions is inevitable.”
In Moscow, US Ambassador John Sullivan informed Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov of the punitive measures at a pre-arranged date, he said. He described the conversation that evening as “professional and respectful.” On the other hand, ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharova claimed that it was a matter of “calling up” a difficult and unfriendly conversation. “Such aggressive behavior will undoubtedly face rejection, and the response to sanctions will be inevitable.”
Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told CNN that it was about “providing a meaningful and credible response, but not escalating the situation.” He said that these are “appropriate” measures to defend US interests. Sullivan said the United States and Russia, despite their differences, could work together on various issues, such as disarmament, and have a “stable and predictable relationship.”
Russian foreign politicians said that Russia would respond “like a mirror” and in return it would also expel ten American diplomats. Russia has long dismissed allegations of election interference and infiltration of US infrastructure as unfounded and demanded evidence.
It was against this background that it was difficult to talk about prospects for a meeting between Putin and Biden, foreign policy chief Leonid Sluzky said. The head of the Russian Parliament’s foreign affairs committee said the sanctions would not set a “constructive tone” for such talks.
It has now been said in the Kremlin that the sanctions imposed on these summit plans are not helpful. But in the end, heads of state will have to decide for themselves whether or not to meet. He considered it impossible to hold the summit in the next few weeks. White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki said Biden’s invitation to Putin for a third-country summit was still open. From the point of view of the United States, such a meeting would be a good step forward for creating “a stable and predictable relationship.”
Senator Vladimir Jabaro told the Federation Council in Moscow that the new US sanctions will not have an impact on the Russian economy. Western investors will also find loopholes to continue investing in attractive Russian government bonds. Experts also noted Russia’s relatively low external debt, which is why the country does not have to fear any dire consequences.
The tax authorities announced the steps
Financial authorities in Moscow have already announced steps to reduce risks for investors. The head of the American Chamber of Commerce’s representation in Moscow, Alexis Rodzianko, said the new sanctions would initially make US banks’ business in Russia more difficult. In the long term, Russia may struggle to borrow money from the market.
A senior US government representative said that about a quarter of Russia’s debt securities are in the hands of foreign investors. The ban will not only affect US banks, but will also have “another deterrent effect.” The trade embargo relates to the primary market for ruble bonds and securities in foreign currencies, such as the euro or the US dollar. He warned that the president has “maximum flexibility” to tighten the ban if needed.
The White House said Russia needs to know that the United States will “defend its national interests” and punish Moscow for hostilities. NATO partners supported US sanctions. “We stand with the United States in solidarity,” said a statement released on Thursday.
Six Russian technology companies that support the Russian intelligence services are subject to sanctions. In addition, 32 people and organizations who tried to influence the US elections will be punished by order of Moscow, the White House said. Eight other people or companies, in consultation with US allies, including the European Union, will be punished for Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea in the Black Sea. She added that the transatlantic community stands united with Ukraine and urges Russia to stop the recent deployment of troops along the border and to stop its aggressive rhetoric.
The sanctions are supposed to be, among other things, retaliation for a massive pirate attack on ministries, authorities and companies in the United States, which US security authorities suspect Russia is behind. The attackers gained access to the networks using SolarWinds maintenance software, which was used in many places and remained undetected for several months. The case, which became known in December, was an embarrassing setback for the US security services.
The White House said the United States has now made the Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency (SWR) responsible for the hacking attack. The cyber attack gave Russia the opportunity to spy or disable more than 16,000 computer systems worldwide. And SWR rejected it.
The US government is also taking action on an alleged Russian reward aimed at encouraging terrorists in Afghanistan to attack American soldiers. The White House said that these measures will only be reported through military and diplomatic channels, as well as through secret services, because they also relate to the “security and safety” of US forces.
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