US pres. eyes Russia retaliation after review of 'hacking, meddling'
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 08 April 2021 9:10 AM
US President Joe Biden is considering "retaliatory actions" against Russia as his administration officials have completed an intelligence review of alleged Russian election interference and hacking, a US media report says.
The measures could involve sanctions and the expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in the US, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The retaliatory actions would also include sanctions against "people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as agencies linked to election interference."
President Biden ordered the review on his first day in office into four areas: Interference in the US election, reports of Russian bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, the cyber-attack on Texas-based firm SolarWinds Corp. and the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
The US retaliatory measures would be aimed at establishing effective deterrence against future cyber-attacks such as the one that compromised popular software made by SolarWinds Corp. and infiltrated US government agencies as well as American private companies, Bloomberg said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced the intelligence review on Jan. 21, saying it was meant "to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions."
Biden's decision on what to do about the retaliation against the Kremlin could be the biggest foreign policy test of his early presidency, US media says.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have hit the bottom in the wake of last month's Biden's interview, in which he called Putin "a killer" and warned that the Russian president "will pay a price" for alleged election meddling.
Biden was referring to an American intelligence assessment that alleged that the Russian government meddled in last year's US presidential election to "denigrate" Biden's candidacy.
The Kremlin reacted angrily to Biden's remarks, calling the comment unprecedented and describing the relationship between the two countries as "very bad."
Putin, however, invited Biden to hold open online talks in the wake of the remarks.
Russia has repeatedly rejected accusations that it meddles in elections or offered to pay bounties for the killing of American troops.
The Biden administration is weighing reaction against Russia while also seeking Moscow's help on priorities such as restarting arms control talks and combating climate change.
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