President Joe Biden and his administration have unveiled a new slew of sanctions against Russia as a punishment for the country’s interference in the 2020 presidential election, the SolarWinds cyber attack and the ongoing annexation of Crimea.

The new sanctions signal a continued firm approach to foreign policy under Biden. On Wednesday, Biden announced that the United States would be pulling all combat troops out of Afghanistan. The United States will also be sending an unofficial delegation to Taiwan, the first in modern history, to voice support for the country’s democratic values, further legitimizing the state, which China insists does not exist.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to NATO members Thursday about the new sanctions, saying that Russia “presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States.”  Thursday’s sanctions also was the first time the United States formally recognized that Russian federal intelligence was behind the SolarWinds cyber attack. In further response, ten Russian diplomats will be expelled from the United States, including several “representatives of Russian intelligence services,” according to Blinken.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview Tuesday that Biden’s sanctions “provide a significant and credible response, but not escalate the situation.” Sullivan explained that Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone Tuesday to inform him of the sanctions. Biden “made no bones about the fact we will be taking actions this week, but he also indicated that he wants to get to that stability in this relationship, and he believes that if President Putin is prepared to do that as well, we can find a course ahead that does not lead to a cycle of confrontation,” Sullivan said to CNN Thursday.


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