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U.S. Set To Slap Sanctions On Russian Officials, Entities

The United States is planning to announce sanctions targeting several Russian officials and entities as early as April 15, according to news reports.

As many as 30 entities are expected to face U.S. sanctions for election interference or a hack into U.S. government and corporate computer networks last year, unidentified sources quoted by Reuters and Bloomberg said.

The sanctions also target about a dozen individuals, including intelligence officials. The action is expected to include the expulsion of as many as 10 Russian officials and diplomats, the reports said.

Neither the targeted entities nor the individuals were named in the Reuters and Bloomberg reports.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been signaling for weeks that it is preparing to make a major response to the cybersecurity breach affecting software made by the company SolarWinds.

U.S. intelligence officials and technology companies have said the intrusion, discovered in December, was likely the work of Russian hackers. Moscow has denied any involvement.

At least nine government agencies, including the Treasury, Justice, and Commerce departments, and 100 private companies were breached.

The sanctions are also aimed at retaliating for alleged interference during the 2020 presidential election. A U.S. intelligence community assessment concluded with a high degree of confidence that President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government authorized and directed an effort to influence the election.

Some of the planned sanctions are aimed at operations blamed for sowing disinformation during the campaign, according to one of the sources quoted by Bloomberg. Others to be targeted include individuals and entities that operate outside Russia at the behest of Moscow.

The White House, the State Department, and the Treasury Department had no immediate comment on the reports.

The measures would come after Biden warned Putin in a call on April 13 that the United States would defend its interests. At the same time, Biden floated the idea of a summit between the two leaders.

Biden ordered a review on his first full day in office into election interference, reports of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the SolarWinds attack, and the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

The administration announced sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny last month.

Russia has repeatedly rejected accusations that it meddled in the U.S. election, offered to pay bounties for the killing of U.S troops, or took part in the poisoning of Navalny.

With reporting by Reuters and Bloomberg

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