Russia Summons U.S. Ambassador amid Cyber Espionage Sanctions

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Russia yesterday summoned the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, in response to the cyber espionage sanctions adopted by Washington, which include the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova advanced that the conversation with the ambassador “will not be to the liking of the U.S. side.”

“Such aggressive behavior will undoubtedly receive a firm response. The anti-sanctions response will be inevitable,” she said.

Zakharova stressed that “in Washington they must assume that there will be a price to pay for the degradation of bilateral relations.”

“The responsibility for what happened lies entirely with the United States. We warned the United States on more than one occasion of the consequences of its hostile steps, which dangerously increase the level of confrontation between our countries,” she insisted.

The diplomat recalled that in the telephone conversation between the leaders of the two countries, Russia’s Vladimir Putin expressed to his American counterpart, Joe Biden, “interest in the normalization of Russian-American relations.”

“But the actions of his administration say otherwise. Such a course does not meet the interests of the peoples of two major nuclear powers that bear historical responsibility for the fate of the world,” she stressed.

The United States imposed sanctions on Russia on Thursday for its alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election and its alleged role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, in addition to imposing punishments related to Russian actions in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

President Biden’s administration also announced the expulsion from the United States of ten members of the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, including members of the Intelligence services.

In addition, the White House formally accused the Russian Foreign Espionage Service (SVR) of having “perpetrated” the massive cyber-attack that allegedly began in 2019 and penetrated the systems of the US government and large companies through a program of the SolarWinds company.

In total, Washington on Thursday sanctioned 6 Russian companies for cyber espionage activities, 32 Russian organizations and individuals for election interference, and 8 individuals and entities for the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The sanctions against Russia are in response to “actions taken by its government and intelligence services against the sovereignty and interests of the United States,” the White House said in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned a few hours ago that, in case of sanctions, Moscow would apply the principle of “reciprocity”.

After Biden’s inauguration, both countries extended the latest nuclear disarmament treaty between the two nuclear superpowers, New START, but recently the U.S. president called Putin a “murderer,” after which Moscow recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations.

In recent weeks, Biden has expressed to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky his support for Russia’s “aggression” in the Donbas and criticized the mobilization of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.

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