Russia vowed to retaliate for a wave of new sanctions President Joe Biden announced against the country on Thursday, saying “Washington must realize that a price will be paid for bilateral relations’ degradation.”
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it summoned U.S. Ambassador to Russian John Sullivan shortly after the Thursday sanctions announcement. The Russian Foreign Ministry said, “The Ambassador was told that a series of retaliatory measures would follow shortly.”
Russia criticized the Biden administration’s sanctions, saying they are “contrary to the declared intention to ‘build pragmatic relations with Russia.'”
Russian Foreign Ministry also tweeted a statement from spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said, “U.S. aggressive behaviour will certainly lead to a decisive rebuff; there will be an inevitable response to the sanctions. Washington must realize that a price will be paid for bilateral relations’ degradation. The responsibility lies entirely with the U.S.”
Sullivan confirmed the meeting with his Russian counterparts in a Thursday statement, saying, “We have been clear that we desire a relationship with Russia that is stable and predictable. However, we have also been clear – publicly and privately – that we will defend our national interests and impose costs on the Russian government for its actions that seek to harm our sovereignty, or our allies, partners, and values.”
In response to the U.S. sanctions, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russian state-run Russia Today (RT) tweeted, “Returning Donbas home can be considered an asymmetric response? For example.”
The Ukrainian-controlled Donbas region is home to many ethnic Russians. Russia’s military has been in a low-intensity fight with Ukraine in the Donbas region since 2014 and has supported pro-Russian separatists in the region. There has been a massive Russian military buildup along the Ukrainian border near Donbas in recent weeks.
The Biden White House said the new sanctions were in response to Russia’s alleged involvement in the SolarWinds hack, as well as alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections to harm Biden’s candidacy. In March, the U.S. intelligence community issued an assessment that Russia sought to
Russia has denied responsibility for the SolarWinds hack, wherein thousands of potential U.S. users and government agencies may have been exposed to vulnerabilities hackers planted in the company’s software. In response to reports the U.S. may launch its own cyber attacks against Russia in retaliation for the hack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “This is nothing more than international cybercrime.”
The Biden administration’s actions targeted 32 individuals and entities it assessed were involved in the Russian election interference efforts. The administration also expelled 10 Russian officials from the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C., and linked some of the officials to Russian intelligence agencies. The new sanctions further bar U.S. investments in Russian bonds sold by 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.