May 6, 2021

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U.S. to Sanction Russia, Expel Diplomats Over Alleged Election Interference, Hacking – The Wall Street Journal

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WASHINGTON—The Biden administration will impose a range of retaliatory measures against Russia on Thursday in response to Moscow’s alleged election interference, a widespread hacking campaign and other malign activity, according to people familiar with the matter.

Using a new executive order, the measure will expand the existing prohibitions on U.S. banks trading in Russian government debt, two of the people said. Previous prohibitions targeting portions of Russian sovereign debt shook Russia’s markets and added to its economic woes.

That order prohibits U.S. financial institutions from buying new bonds directly from Russia’s central bank, finance ministry and the country’s massive sovereign-wealth fund after June 14.

Among other measures, 10 Russian diplomats will be expelled, including some due to allegations that Russia offered to pay bounties to militants in Afghanistan to kill U.S. military service members, the people said. Sanctions will be imposed for Russia’s cyber intrusions, election meddling and occupation of Crimea.

Russia’s foreign-intelligence service, the SVR, will be formally accused of carrying out the so-called SolarWinds hack of U.S. government and corporate computer systems. Collectively, the actions are meant to punish Moscow while also deterring the Kremlin from further provocations.

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