The Biden administration has announced that beginning June 14, US banks will be banned from participating in all bond sales by Russia’s central bank, ministry of finance and sovereign wealth fund. The move comes as part of a wide range of sanctions against Russia introduced by Biden in response to election interference.
10 Russian diplomats were also expelled from the US and broad sanctions were introduced against Russian officials and companies in retaliation to Moscow’s meddling in elections and cyber-espionage campaigns like the SolarWinds hack.
Wall Street firms will now be unable to buy or underwrite most transactions by Russia’s central government, marking a significant escalation of US sanctions on the country and making it more difficult for Moscow to raise capital.
This marks a significant escalation of US sanctions on Russia and will make it more difficult for Moscow to raise capital. The Russian ruble fell by almost 1% against the US dollar Thursday and the country’s stock market retreated modestly following the news.
“Earlier this week, I spoke with President Putin of Russia about the nature of our relationship, the relationship between our two countries,” Biden said during a speech on the sanctions.
“And I was candid, respectful. The conversation was candid and respectful. Two great powers with significant responsibility for global stability. And President Putin and I have had a significant responsibility to steward that relationship. I take that responsibility very seriously as I’m sure he does.
“Russia and Americans are both proud and patriotic people. And I believe the Russian people like the American people are invested in a peaceful and a secure future of our world,” he continued.
“During the campaign for the presidency, I was on equivocal that if I was elected president I’d respond to any attempt to influence our elections, the last election. And because elections are sacred, they’re sovereign undertakings and are an expression of the will of the American people. And we cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity.”
During his speech, Biden spoke about Russia’s recent mobilization of troops on the Ukrainian border, claiming that he had made it clear to Putin that the US had support for Ukrainian territorial integrity.
“Now is the time to de-escalate,” the president said. “The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process.”
The Biden administration published a detailed report exposing Russian espionage methods. For the first time, the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, were identified by the US in official capacity as the spy agency that are responsible for the SolarWinds software supply chain hack.
The hack penetrated federal government networks and compromised more than 16,000 computer systems.
Members of Russian intelligence would be among the diplomats expelled from the United States, the White House said.
“I told them if it turned out as I thought that there was engagement in our elections that I’d respond. Later during the transition as we learn more about the SolarWinds cyber intrusion, I made clear that I respond once we determined who had in fact conducted a hack on the scope and scale that occurred,” Biden said during his speech on Russian relations.
“When President Putin called me in January after I sworn in and to congratulate me, I told him that my administration would be looking very carefully now that we had access to all the data and at the issues to assess Russia’s role, and then determine what response we would make.”
In a release coordinated with the US efforts, the British spy agency GCHQ also attributed the hack to the SVR, accusing the agency of additionally targeting diplomatic and military institutions in NATO countries since 2011.
“When we spoke again this week, I told them that we would shortly be responding in a measured and a proportionate way because we concluded that they had interfered in the election and SolarWinds was totally inappropriate,” Biden said.
“Today and I’ve approved several steps, including expulsion of several Russian officials as a consequence of their actions. I’ve also signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions to address specific harmful actions that Russia has taken against US interest.
“I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate. The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship. If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond. It is my responsibility as President of the United States to do so. But throughout our long history of competition, our two countries have been able to find ways to manage tensions and to keep them from escalating out of control.”