Biden administration prepares to impose sanctions on Russia for Navalny poisoning and SolarWinds hack

Discussions on the response to the devastating security breach by at least nine federal agencies and dozens of private companies are still ongoing, but could come in a matter of weeks, the U.S. official said, noting that the package will likely include sanctions and a cybernetic component. as well as other options that make clear how seriously the Biden administration views Russia’s actions more broadly.

The form the Navalny sanctions will take is being consolidated and will likely be implemented in coordination with the European Union, the two administration officials said.

The measures would be the first costs imposed on Russia by the Biden administration and would mark a clear departure from the strategy of the Trump administration, which did not impose sanctions for the poisoning and avoided directly confronting Russia for its misdeeds.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell said Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked to coordinate actions against Russia over the Navalny case. Blinken addressed the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN last week that the Biden administration’s response to the hack is coming soon. “We are not talking about months from now, but weeks from now, in which the United States will be prepared to take the first steps in response to solar winds,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also said that “what the previous administration said was, I quote,” that he was probably of Russian origin. “We think we can go further.”

The Biden administration is not starting from scratch as they draft options for Navalny’s sanctions. The State Department drew up options last year under the Trump administration, but they were never enforced, a decision that puzzled the job-level officials who developed them, one of the officials explained.

Politico was the first to report that preparations for the Navalny sanctions are underway and the Washington Post first reported on the SolarWinds discussions.
Career diplomats have been frustrated throughout the Trump administration by inaction when it comes to Russia. They have privately welcomed the straightforward nature of President Joe Biden’s first phone call with Putin, in which he confronted Putin about malicious activities by Russia that former President Donald Trump had often prevented, three American diplomats told CNN.

The Trump administration’s inaction put the United States out of step with its European allies when it comes to the Navalny poisoning. EU nations implemented the Navalny sanctions shortly after his poisoning last year, but the United States did not.

Blinken participated virtually in the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) yesterday on Monday, saying that it “welcomed the EU’s decision to impose sanctions against Russia under the human rights sanctions regime in response to actions taken. against [Navalny] and his followers “.

Alexey Navalny remains in jail while the court rejects his appeal.  He is then fined $ 11,500 for defamation.

Officials in the Biden administration point to ongoing intelligence reviews and their need to fully understand the state of the game before implementing all of their Russia policy. The intelligence review includes the violation of SolarWinds, Russian interference in the 2020 elections, the use of chemical weapons by Russia against Navalny, and the alleged rewards to American soldiers in Afghanistan.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Administration officials have promised that the intelligence review will take place as quickly as possible.

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is working on this review very quickly,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this month. “I would not expect this review to take longer than necessary.”

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.


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