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US expels Russian diplomats, imposes new sanctions over SolarWinds hack, election interference

Russia Vladimir Putin
Posted at 5:39 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 17:07:07-04

The White House announced a series of sanctions against Russia on Thursday in response to a massive hacking campaign that breached vital federal agencies, as well as for election interference.

President Joe Biden is delivered remarks about the sanctions Thursday afternoon, watch them below.

“This E.O. (executive order) 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,” a statement from the White House read.

In the statement, the Biden administration announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and some financial penalties against the country.

During his live remarks Thursday afternoon, Biden walked through the communications between the U.S. and Russia so far during his presidency and plans for the future.

Biden says he expressed concern to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that they were building up a military presence near Ukraine.

"My bottom line is this, it is in the U.S. interests to work with Russia," Biden said, "And we will, but we stand up for ourselves and our allies."

"We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process."

The sanctions mark the first time that the U.S. explicitly linked the “SolarWinds” intrusion to a Russian intelligence service.

The sanctions, foreshadowed for weeks by the administration, are the first retaliatory action announced against the Kremlin for the hack.

Discovered in December, the SolarWinds hackers were able to get access to government and business networks through the IT management company SolarWinds’s Orion software supply chain.

The intruders had likely been accessing the private information for several months prior to its discovery.

Federal agencies have said that the hack impacted 18,000 public and private sector computers, including the machines at 10 U.S. government agencies, and that the intrusion is a “grave threat” to U.S. cybersecurity.