SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 June 2021, Wednesday |

Biden Administration prepares to impose sanctions on Russia

The Washington Post said that the US President Joe Biden Administration is preparing to impose sanctions and other measures, soon, to punish Moscow for actions that will not stop at malicious cyber activities and espionage campaigns.

According to the American newspaper, citing US officials familiar with the matter, the sanctions will be imposed due to its alleged interference in the massive piracy of the SolarWinds, and a set of malicious cyber activities, as well as the poisoning of the Prominent Russian opposition, Alex Navalny, who is currently imprisoned in Moscow.

Discussions about the response to the devastating security breach of at least nine federal agencies and dozens of private businesses are still ongoing but could come within a matter of weeks, the US official said, noting that the package will likely include sanctions and a cyber component, as well as other options that make clear just how serious the Biden administration views Russia’s actions more broadly.

The form the Navalny sanctions will take is being firmed up and they will likely be rolled out in coordination with the European Union, the two Administration Officials said.

The moves would be the first costs imposed on Russia by the Biden administration and would mark a clear departure from the strategy of the Trump administration, which failed to impose penalties over the poisoning and shied away from directly confronting Russia over its misdeeds.

The latter began last March, when hackers took advantage of the process of updating the SolarWinds monitoring system, which was developed by a company in Texas and used by tens of thousands of companies and administrations around the world.

The process lasted several months before it was revealed, in December, by the FireEye Network Security, which was as well a victim to cyber attacks.

A White House Official said last week that the Russian campaign had affected nine US Government Agencies and nearly 100 Private Companies.

Among the targeted Ministries, one should note the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Treasury and Internal Security, as well as the National Health Centers, officials indicated that they feared that the attack had affected other Ministries as well.

The United States is currently developing an Advanced Defense System in the networks of the Federal and Private Sectors, “the goal of which is to defeat any future cyber attack, whether from Russia or any other advanced opponents,” according to what officials told the Washington Post.

The matter goes beyond sanctions. The US Administration will issue a stronger statement than the one issued by the Intelligence Agencies in January, which accused Moscow  to being “probably” behind the piracy of the SolarWinds.

However, the aim of various measures, Officials told the newspaper, is to convey a broader message that the Kremlin has been using for years electronic tools to implement a set of measures for the interests of the United States and its allies, such as interfering in elections, targeting research on the Covid-19 vaccine and creating an environment that facilitates the work of the pirates who worked on disrupting US public health facilities.

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference last week, President Joe Biden said, “Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks in the United States, across Europe and the world has become very important to protect our collective security.”

Biden had pledged during his election campaign to respond to the widespread cyber attack attributed to Russia that targeted Government Agencies in the United States, and criticized Former President Donald Trump for not taking any measure.

The National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Sunday in an interview with CBS, that the expected response in the coming weeks “will include a mixture of visible and invisible procedures, and it won’t be limited to sanctions,” adding that the aim is “to ensure that Russia will be conscious of limits imposed by the United States in such activity.”