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Biden kicks 10 Russian diplomats out of US, targets 32 more in new sweeping sanctions

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 15, 2021

On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s administration levied sweeping new sanctions against Russia for their alleged involvement in the SolarWinds hack and 2020 election interference, including kicking Russian diplomats out of the U.S.

The Biden White House announced the expulsion of 10 Russian officials from the Russian embassy in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 32 individuals and entities the Biden administration linked to Russian government-directed 2020 election interference efforts.

The new sanctions block U.S. financial institutions from purchasing bonds from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation after June 14 and from lending funds to these institutions.

The White House did not identify the Russian diplomats kicked out of the U.S. but said they “include representatives of Russian intelligence services.”

The Treasury also identified six Russian technology companies it said are helping Russian intelligence services. Those companies are, ERA Technopolis; Pasit, AO (Pasit); Federal State Autonomous Scientific Establishment Scientific Research Institute Specialized Security Computing Devices and Automation (SVA); Neobit, OOO (Neobit); Advanced System Technology, AO (AST); and Pozitiv Teknolodzhiz, AO (Positive Technologies).

The sweeping sanctions block the Russian individuals and entities from accessing all property and interests in property they hold in the U.S. Any U.S. business entities the blocked Russian individuals hold majority ownership or combined majority ownership of are similarly blocked. Any financial institutions and other individuals that engage in transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may also expose themselves to sanctions.

The Treasury also announced action on Thursday against five key Russian officials and three Russian entities involved in the Russian occupation of Crimea. As a result of those sanctions, the Treasury will move to seize the assets of the listed Russian individuals and entities.

The sanctions come after the Biden administration assessed Russia as responsible for a large-scale hack on the U.S. software firm SolarWinds, whose hacked products were used throughout the U.S. government. A U.S. intelligence report assessed in March that Russia used influence operations to harm Biden’s candidacy in the 2020 election cycle.

The White House said the sanctions “sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilizing international actions. This includes, in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; engage in and facilitate malicious cyber activities against the United States and its allies and partners; foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states. “