Biden sanctions Russia, expels diplomats over election interference

President Joe Biden on Thursday declared that the U.S. faces a “national emergency” over an array of malign actions from Russia, imposing new sanctions on the Russian government and expelling 10 Kremlin diplomats from the United States.

The moves are part of an intensifying U.S. campaign to punish Moscow over its attempted interference in the 2020 U.S. election, its cyberespionage campaign known as SolarWinds, and its occupation of Crimea. They are sure to escalate already rising tensions between the two nations and are likely to be met with some Russian reprisal, including the expulsion of U.S. diplomats. The moves also come as Russia has amassed military forces near its border with Ukraine, alarming the international community.

The new penalties also follow a Tuesday conversation between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which Biden proposed the two meet in a third country in the coming months. A senior administration official told reporters on Thursday that Biden previewed the U.S. actions to Putin during their call, and that Russia—both publicly and “in other formats”—has indicated that they intend to respond.

“The U.S. of course reserves the right to take further action as necessary,” the official said. “But our view is that the best course forward at this point would be for the U.S. and Russia both to get off the ladder of escalation and find a stable way forward.”

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