More than 30 Russian structures are subject to them.
The Biden administration announced a series of new sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow’s recent malicious actions, including a cyber-espionage campaign against SolarWinds, Russian interference in the presidential election, and the concentration of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine and in occupied Crimea.
More than 30 Russian structures are subject to the sanctions; we are also talking about the expulsion of at least 10 Russians from the United States. They include intelligence officials and diplomats.
According to a statement from the Treasury Department, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken extensive measures against 16 legal entities and 16 individuals who participated in attempts to influence the US presidential election in 2020 on the Russian instructions authorities.
“The Treasury Department will take action against Russian leaders, officials, intelligence agencies, and their puppets who try to interfere in the US election process or undermine democracy in the US,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “This is the beginning of a new campaign against Russia’s malicious behavior.”
In particular, several media outlets controlled by the Russian special services and play a key role in the Russian disinformation campaign were sanctioned: the SouthFront, NewsFront, and Inforos news agencies and the online magazine Strategic Culture Foundation.
The sanctions list also includes companies associated with Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin: Trans Logistics and Unijet.
The sanctions also affected six Russian technology companies that support the cyber programs of the Russian special services.
Sanctions are also being imposed on Konstantin Kilimnik – a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant who is an agent of the Russian special services and carries out influence operations on their behalf.
The Office for Foreign Assets Control also added five individuals and three legal entities to the sanctions list related to the occupation of Crimea and serious human rights violations against the local population.
“These actions, taken in close cooperation with our allies, demonstrate the international community’s determination to hold Russia accountable for the attempted annexation of Crimea,” said OFAC Director Andrea Gaki.
“The Transatlantic community unanimously supports Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unilateral provocations along the Line of Contact in eastern Ukraine, in occupied Crimea and along Ukraine’s borders, and notes that Russia must immediately stop its military buildup and provocative rhetoric,” the White House said.
In particular, organizations that participated in constructing a bridge across the Kerch Strait, which the international community condemned as a violation of the sovereignty of Belarus, were sanctioned: Lenpromtransproekt and the Railway Construction Directorate. Berkakit-Tommot-Yakutsk”. The sanctions list also includes Leonid Ryzhenkin, the head of the Mostotrest construction company, which has invested more than $ 1.9 billion in constructing the Kerch Bridge.
Sanctions are also being imposed on the Simferopol pre-trial detention center-1, where numerous human rights violations are committed against Ukrainian citizens.
In connection with participation in the occupation of Crimea, the sanctions list includes the Minister of Property and Land Relations of the so-called Republic of Crimea Larisa Kulinich, the head of the Crimean Interior Ministry Pavel Karanda, the head of the regional department of the FSB Leonid Mikhalchuk and the head of the Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Crimea Vladimir Terentyev.
From June 2021, a decree will be put into effect prohibiting US financial institutions from purchasing bonds in rubles and other currencies issued by the Bank of Russia, the National Welfare Fund (NWF), or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation after June 14, 2021.
According to Reuters, the ban applies only to primary markets.
“This decree demonstrates that the United States will take strategically and economically significant retaliatory measures against Russia if it continues or increases its destabilizing actions at the international level,” the White House stressed.
Notifying Congress of the adoption of this decree, Biden said: “I have concluded that these malicious foreign policy activities of the Government of the Russian Federation – in particular, attempts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions of the United States and its allies and partners; conduct malicious cyber activities against the United States, its allies and partners; promote and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; extraterritorial prosecution of dissidents or journalists; undermining security in countries and regions important to the national security of the United States; and violating established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of States, constitute an extraordinary and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
Recall that in a recent telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, President Biden stressed that the United States would act firmly, protecting its national interests.
The White House press release notes: “The Biden administration has made it clear that the United States wants relations with Russia to be stable and predictable. We do not believe that we should continue on a negative trajectory. However, we have also made it clear-publicly and privately – that we will defend our national interests and take action in response to the actions of the Russian government designed to harm us.”
Biden signed a decree providing for blocking the assets of some Russian citizens and legal entities in the United States. These sanctions apply to individuals and legal entities engaged in the technological, military, and related sectors of the Russian economy; individuals involved in such activities as malicious cyber activities, interference in elections in the United States or other states, negative influence on democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad, international corruption, murder or harm to the health of US citizens or citizens of US allies and partners, undermining the security, political stability or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies and partners, and circumventing US sanctions.
The sanctions list also includes persons who hold high positions in the Russian Federation and state agencies and organizations involved in the above-mentioned actions or controlled by the Russian government. The measures also apply to the spouses and adult children of the persons on the list.
Individuals on this list are also prohibited from entering the United States unless the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security deems that it is not contrary to the interests of the United States.
During a briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that the purpose of the call was to indicate that Moscow’s actions will not remain without consequences.
Meanwhile, the White House said that the US security services representatives would release details about what vulnerabilities in the software were exploited by Russian hackers and what steps should be taken to protect against such attacks.
The American intelligence community officially states that the hacker group APT29, or Cozy Bear, working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), was behind the attacks using the SolarWinds Orion platform.
The National Security Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation present a fact sheet on Thursday that provides specific details about the software vulnerabilities that the SVR uses to gain access to computer devices networks. The recommendations also describe specific steps that can be taken to identify and protect against malicious cyber activity by the SVR.
According to the White House, the example of SolarWinds demonstrates the scale of the threat posed by Russian hackers to the infrastructure of information and communication technologies and services, so the US government is considering taking additional measures to protect this sector from further malicious actions by Russia.
“The United States continues to emphasize the importance of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet. Russia’s actions are contrary to this goal, which is shared by many of our allies and partners,” the White House said in a statement.
Two initiatives have been developed to strengthen collective cybersecurity. One of them is to promote responsible government behavior in cyberspace by organizing a unique course on the political and technical aspects of publicly establishing responsibility for cyber incidents.
As part of the second initiative, it is planned to involve more allies in planning the CYBER FLAG 21-1 exercise, which aims to increase defense capabilities in cyberspace. These exercises will help the United States and its allies respond more effectively to malicious actions in cyberspace.
The US administration also responds to reports that Russia is encouraging Taliban attacks on the US military in Afghanistan. “Given the sensitivity of this issue, which affects the security and well-being of our armed forces, it is being resolved through diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels. The safety and well-being of American military personnel, as well as our allies and partners, is an absolute priority of the United States,” the White House said in a press release.