Biden Admin Expels Russians, Imposes Sanctions

Written by SK Ashby

Leaks from the diplomatic and national security community told us the Biden administration was preparing to impose retaliatory sanctions on Russia and Russian individuals in response to a wide range of Russian actions, but those actions go further back than previously reported.

The new sanctions come in response to the SolarWinds hack and interference in the 2020 election, but the sanctions also come in response to Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea and even interference in the 2016 election.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and sanctions against dozens of people and companies as it moved to hold the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The sanctions also target Moscow’s ability to borrow money by prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from buying Russian bonds directly from Russian institutions. [...]

The measures announced Thursday include sanctions on six Russian companies that support the country’s cyber activities, in addition to sanctions on 32 individuals and entities accused of attempting to interfere in last year’s presidential election, including by spreading disinformation. The U.S. also sanctioned eight people and entities tied to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

The 10 diplomats being expelled include representatives of Russian intelligence services, the Biden administration said.

You may recall one particular scandal in which Trump's 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of sharing the campaign's polling data with Russian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik

The new sanctions from the United States Treasury explicitly say Kilimnik shared Manafort's data and Trump's campaign strategy with Russian intelligence in 2016.

Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik) is a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The response to Putin's most recent actions were expected, but the response to events from five years ago tells me the intelligence community knows more than the Trump regime allowed them to disclose. But I suppose that's no surprise, is it?

None of the sanctions announced today cover Russia's bounty program that offered rewards for killing foreign service members in Afghanistan, but a separate response to that program is reportedly coming according to multiple sources.