WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Thursday addressed the sweeping sanctions his government has imposed on Russia. This move aims to address a litany of malicious behavior and is expected to anger Moscow.
“If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I am ready to take further action to respond. It is my responsibility as President of the United States to do so,” said White House Biden.
“It was clear to President Putin that we could have gone further, but I decided against it, I chose to be proportionate,” Biden said of the measures, adding that he did not “want to initiate an escalation cycle and.” Conflict with Russia. “
Biden also said that in a phone call with Putin, he suggested that the two meet in person in Europe this summer to discuss a number of pressing issues.
Biden’s government has imposed several sanctions on 32 Russian individuals and organizations for their role in attempting to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, five individuals and three organizations in connection with Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian Crimea as well six technology companies were named in support of Russian intelligence agencies.
In addition, the State Department announced the expulsion of 10 officials from the Russian Embassy in Washington.
Russia has long denied allegations of meddling in US elections, human rights violations, cyberattacks and reports of bounties for US troops serving in Afghanistan.
Last month, the Biden government imposed its first sanctions on Russia for alleged poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Putin critic Alexey Navalny.
Navalny, a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, flew from Berlin to Russia, where he recovered for almost half a year from nerve agent poisoning that occurred last August. He was arrested at passport control and later sentenced to more than two years in prison. The US reiterated its demands for his immediate release.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied playing a role in Navalny’s poisoning.
Moscow’s fiery response
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a Victory Day military parade marking the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russia described the recent moves of the White House as a blow to bilateral relations and promised to impose swift retaliatory measures. The Kremlin also accused the United States of weakening diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow.
Also on Thursday, Biden signed an executive order that would allow Washington to sanction any sector of Moscow’s economy, greatly expanding the scope of sanctions authorities. Under this new approval, US banks will be banned from conducting transactions in the primary market for new ruble or non-ruble bonds from Russia after June 14.
A high-ranking official in the Biden government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the measure as having an impact on the Russian economy.
“Removing US investors from the primary market creates a broader cooling effect,” the official said. “What you see is that Russia’s borrowing costs are rising, you see that there is capital flight and you see that the currency is weakening at the same time. And you know that this is having an impact on Russia’s growth rate and an impact on Russia’s inflation rate Has.” Official added.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov described the new sanctions as a missed opportunity for US banks and investors, adding that he expected demand for Russia’s national debt to remain high. Siluanov also said the ministry will closely monitor market conditions.
The Russian central bank also said on Thursday that it is closely monitoring the market and is “ready to use the instruments at its disposal to maintain financial stability.”
The sanctions package follows a call between Biden and Putin on Tuesday, the second between the two leaders since the Democratic president took office in January. Biden later described the call as “open and respectful”.
When prompted, Biden suggested holding a summit somewhere outside the US and Russia “to discuss the full range of problems the countries are facing”.
The Kremlin said in a statement later Tuesday that Biden had “suggested considering the possibility of holding a face-to-face summit in the foreseeable future.”
A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden had informed Putin of his decision to impose the sanctions.
“We also want to make it clear that we do not wish to be in an escalation cycle with Russia. We intend that these responses be proportionate and tailored to the specific past activities, pathways and actions that Russia has taken,” he said Officer.
The administrative officer declined to speculate on possible retaliatory measures Moscow would take following the sweeping sanctions.