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Months After Hack, US Poised to Announce Sanctions on Russian Federation

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The White House

In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, President Biden said the U.S. would "act firmly" in defence of its national interests. US officials believe it was an intelligence-gathering operation aimed at stealing government secrets.

Peskov said Putin and President Biden "saw eye to eye" on the need to de-escalate tensions in U.S. -Russia relations, but "our U.S. counterparts' liking for sanctions remains unacceptable". Last month, the USA sanctioned seven mid-level and senior Russian officials, along with more than a dozen government entities, over a almost fatal nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing.

Russia will restrict the navigation of foreign military and official ships in parts of the Black Sea until October, a Russian news agency reported Friday, a move that was swiftly condemned by Ukraine and the EU.

To that effect, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia for "undermining the conduct of free and fair elections and democratic institutions" in the U.S. and for its role in facilitating the sprawling SolarWinds hack, while also barring six technology companies in the country that provide support to the cyber program run by Russian Intelligence Services.

The U.S. sanctions were a response to Moscow's alleged meddling in last year's U.S. election, cyber hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged malign actions.

Intelligence officials believe Russian Federation was behind the attack. "We will act firmly in response to Russian actions that cause harm to us or our allies and partners", Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The Kremlin says Putin has yet to decide whether he will take part in a US -led climate summit next week.

SVR head Sergei Naryshkin said Friday the US sanctions eroded global security, as he played up Russia's view of its role in global stability as what he called one of the world's two "great powers". The White House did not publicly confirm the reports.

"We see what Russian Federation is doing to undermine our democracies", said U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. "The package of US sanctions is a manifestation of unfair competition".

In a television interview last month, Biden said "I do" when asked if he thought Putin was a "killer".

The Obama administration expelled diplomats from the U.S.in 2016 in response to interference in that year's presidential election.

Putin later recalled Russia's ambassador to the U.S. He also pointed at the U.S. history with slaves and Native Americans and the atomic bombing of Japan ending World War II. The hackers gained access to digital files of several USA government agencies, including the Treasury, Justice and State Departments.

The UK government has previously exposed details of other parts of the Russian Federation intelligence service conducting cyber operations.

The Biden administration is set to place a wide range of sanctions against Russian Federation according to reports. Other measures are expected as Biden gave an executive order permitting the USA government to sanction any part of the Russian economy.

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