Russia is refusing to back down in its war of words against President Joe Biden’s administration, which issued sanctions against the country for taking actions that are a threat to U.S. sovereignty and that of its allies.
In recent weeks, Russia has been amassing troops at its border with Ukraine, prompting fears that Russia wants to go to war with the NATO hopeful.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, after the Biden administration announced sanctions. The Ministry said, “the Ambassador was told that a series of retaliatory measures would follow shortly.”
In its statement, Russia criticized the sanctions and described them as “contrary to the declared intention to ‘build pragmatic relations with Russia.'” The statement was accompanied by remarks from Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, who said that a response from Russia would be “inevitable,” and that “a price will be paid.”
“U.S. aggressive behaviour will certainly lead to a decisive rebuff; there will be an inevitable response to the sanctions,” she said. “Washington must realize that a price will be paid for bilateral relations’ degradation. The responsibility lies entirely with the U.S.”
Ambassador Sullivan confirmed the Russian claim that he was summoned to have a meeting with the Foreign Ministry.
“We have been clear that we desire a relationship with Russia that is stable and predictable. However, we have also been clear – publicly and privately – that we will defend our national interests and impose costs on the Russian government for its actions that seek to harm our sovereignty, or our allies, partners, and values,” said Sullivan in a statement.
The Biden administration explained that its sanctions against Russia were in response to the country’s alleged involvement in the SolarWinds hack, as well as alleged efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to harm Biden’s candidacy.
Russia has denied involvement in the SolarWinds hack, which exposed thousands of potential American users and government agencies to backdoors in the company’s software, which could potentially allow a hacker unfettered access to sensitive systems.
The new sanctions target 32 individuals and entities that the Biden administration claims were involved in election interference. Furthermore, the White House expelled 10 Russian officials from the Russian embassy in Washington D.C., linking some of them to Russian intelligence agencies. The sanctions also ban American citizens from investing in Russian bonds sold in the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, Russian National Wealth Fund, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation after June 14, 2021.