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New US sanctions on Russia: How will Russia answer?

The United States has imposed new sanctions on Russia in response to what it says are cyberattacks and many other malicious acts. 

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In the mid of April, US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that imposes a wide array of sanctions against Russia.

Why does the US impose new sanctions on Russia? 

The Biden administration put new sanctions on Russia due to its interference in the 2020 US elections, its SolarWinds cyber attacks, and its ongoing human rights violations in Crimea. 

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According to CNN, the announcement is one of a series of dramatic foreign policy steps that President Biden has taken to signal towards a tougher and more pragmatic global posture for the US. 

According to a statement from the White House, the Russian intelligence agencies were behind last year’s SolarWind hack. 

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In 2020, the suspected elite hackers have stolen some of the core US secrets in months-long cyberattacks. According to major US cybersecurity agencies, the attack was started in March 2020 and lasted till the end of the year when FireEye (a cybersecurity organization) discovered the global intrusion campaign by the hackers. 

The attack includes the malware induction to the SolarWinds software updates which affect  300,000 organizations including 18000 from government and private sector. 

The US government accuses the Russian government of the massive cyberattack while Russian government has denied the US reports and called it ‘baseless’. 

President Biden said, “I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate.” 

How sanctions affect Russia? 

According to Reuters, “The US government blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats, and barred US banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia’s central bank, national wealth fund, and Finance Ministry.” 

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Another Reuters report said the sanctions which include 30 entities are expected to be blacklisted and expelling ten Russian officials from the United States. 

According to a report by CNBC, sanctions targeted sixteen entities and sixteen individuals accused of trying to influence the 2020 US elections along with three entities and five individuals linked to the Crimea annexation and expelled ten Russian diplomats from the US. 

The Biden administration also put sanctions on newly issued Russian sovereign debt, which caused a slight sell-off in the Russian-ruble and sovereign bonds last month. 

The move from Washington prevents the country’s financial institutions from participating in the primary market for Ruble and non-Ruble denominated debt after June 14, 2021. 

According to Agathe Demarais, a global forecasting director at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC, “The latest round of US sanctions was a mostly symbolic exercise.”

He added, “Sanctions on Russian individuals and companies are irrelevant, as these people and firms have no ties to the US and probably no intention to ever use the US dollar or to have bank accounts in the US.” 

The US government is careful in imposing new sanctions on Moscow as it will eventually hurt the US investors who hold billions in Russian sovereign debt. Demarais explained. 

How does Russia answer the US sanctions? 

After the announcement of the US sanctions on Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the sanctions “hostile steps which dangerously raise the temperature of confrontation.” 

“A series of retaliatory measures will follow soon.” The Russian Foreign Ministry warns the US ambassador. 

The Biden administration also does not want to escalate the tension between the two countries. 

“My bottom line is this: There is an interest in the United States to work with Russia. We should and we will.” President Biden said. But “When Russia seeks to violate the interests of the United States, we will respond.” 

Moscow said the US actions contradict a stated US desire to normalize relations with Russia. 

More information about the US sanctions history:

Are there still sanctions on Russia?

Yes, along with the older sanctions, the US also imposed new sanctions on Russia due to their suspected involvement in the 2020 US presidential elections, SolarWind’s massive cyberattack, and their act of human rights violations in Crimea.

Can the US do business with Russia?

By implementing a new wave of sanctions on Russia, some individuals from diplomatic staff and entities are prevented to continue their activities in the US. But according to economists, the financial activities will not get disturbed as the US doesn’t want to escalate the situation any further.

How many countries are sanctioned by the US?

There are more than 30 countries or territories including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Cuba, Cyprus, Russia, Fiji, and many others which are currently under different US sanctions. These sanctions are imposed combined by the US Treasury Department, the Commerce Department, and the State Department.  

Analysis:

The US government put sanctions on Russia, but it seems it does not affect Moscow’s moves much. 

On the other hand, Russia’s reaction came and they directly warned the US government about the situation they are heading to. And it is also after a long-time, the Russian government has directly responded to the US act. 

Experts are positive about the current US move against Moscow because the sanctions that the US imposes do not affect the Russian government in terms of its economy.

Source:

  1. Reuters News
  2. CNBC
  3. BBC News
  4. CNN
  5. Al Jazeera