Biden in Black Sea U-Turn as he CANCELS deployment of two warships despite calling Putin and threatening 'repercussions' over troop build-up on Ukraine border: President hits Moscow with sanctions and expels ten diplomats

 President Joe Biden has cancelled the deployment of two US warships from the Black Sea despite warning Vladimir Putin there would be 'repercussions' for the troop build-up in Ukraine.

Last week, Turkey said Washington was sending two warships to the Black Sea, in a decision Russia called an unfriendly provocation.  

But the Biden administration has reversed the decision after the Kremlin warned them to 'stay away for their own good'.


Washington's U-turn in Crimea came on the day Biden announced sweeping new sanctions against Moscow as the White House seeks to rein in Russian aggression while avoiding an all-out diplomatic war with the Kremlin.

'We have no desire to be in an escalating war with Russia,' a senior administration official said Thursday on a briefing call with reporters, saying the White House doesn't want things 'spinning out of control.'

'We do not seek a downward spiral. We can and think we can avoid that,' the official said.

Officials made it clear, however, that the administration 'will not accept its destabilizing behavior that harms the United States, its allies and its partners.' 


To give the sanctions teeth - in a way financial sanctions have not deterred Russia before - the US is seeking to choke off lending to the Russian government.

The US also expelled 10 diplomats in retaliation for the Kremlin's interference in American elections, its aggressive actions in the Ukraine, and the SolarWinds cyber hack.

The Treasury Department and Western allies - including the UK and Canada - also targeted eight individuals and entities associated with the 'ongoing occupation and repression in Crimea'. 

'The Transatlantic community stands united in supporting Ukraine against unilateral Russian provocations along the Line of Contact in eastern Ukraine, in occupied Crimea, and along Ukraine's borders, as well as agreeing on the need for Russia to immediately cease its military buildup and inflammatory rhetoric,' the White House said.  

The White House also denounced Moscow for offering the Taliban bounties for U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.

Administration officials described its actions as 'tailored and proportional' and reiterated it seeks a 'predictable and stable' relationship with Moscow.  

In a series of actions on Thursday, the United States sanctioned 32 Russian entities and individuals along with six technology companies, formally attributed the SolarWinds cyber breach to Russian intelligence agencies, and accused Moscow of still trying to hack American targets.

President Joe Biden
Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Russia and expelled 10 diplomats in retaliation for the Kremlin's interference in American elections, its aggressive actions in the Ukraine, and the SolarWinds cyber hack 

Putin is continuing to build up his forced on the border with Ukraine, as the government warns troops numbers could swell to 110,000 with 7,000 tanks and other vehicles in support

Putin is continuing to build up his forced on the border with Ukraine, as the government warns troops numbers could swell to 110,000 with 7,000 tanks and other vehicles in support

Ukrainian troops man trenches in the eastern Donbas region as the country's foreign minister warns Moscow it will bear 'very painful consequences' if it invades

Ukrainian troops man trenches in the eastern Donbas region as the country's foreign minister warns Moscow it will bear 'very painful consequences' if it invades

'The President signed this sweeping new authority to confront Russia's continued and growing malign behavior,' said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement. The Treasury Department is in charge of carrying out the sanctions.

'Treasury is leveraging this new authority to impose costs on the Russian government for its unacceptable conduct, including by limiting Russia's ability to finance its activities and by targeting Russia's malicious and disruptive cyber capabilities,' she said. 

Biden signed an executive order Thursday morning authorizing the sanctions and expelling of diplomats, who the administration claims includes representatives of Russian intelligence services.  

The administration specifically cites Russian interference in free and fair elections, its 'malicious cyber activities' against the United States, fostering corruption to influence foreign governments, targeting dissidents or journalists,  undermining security in countries important to American national security and violating well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states. 

It also criticized Russian for offering the Taliban bounties on U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan but said that would be handled through diplomatic channels. 

'Given the sensitivity of this matter, which involves the safety and well-being of our forces, it is being handled through diplomatic, military and intelligence channels,' the White House said in a statement. 

A senior administration official noted the US intelligence community has only 'low to moderate confidence' that Russia offered bounties on American troops and isn't imposing any punishment on Moscow for the possible action right now. 

President Biden announced on Wednesday he will remove all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11th.  

The executive order also expanded an existing ban on US banks trading in Russian government debt. It 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.

The Kremlin said on Thursday it would respond in kind to any new 'illegal' new U.S. sanctions on Russia and said any new measures would reduce the chances of a summit between Biden and Putin taking place. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would wait to see what happened before commenting in detail. 

'We're not going to speculate on what the Russian response will be,' a senior Biden administration official said Thursday. 'We will track closely the Russian response to this.' 

The administration has been warning the actions are coming as President Biden takes a much harsher stance against Moscow than his predecessor, Donald Trump. 

Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to warn him.

'He did not hold back on his concerns, including reiterating that there will be consequences to the actions that were taken. I expect you will know more about that soon,' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the call on Wednesday.  

In its Thursday announcement, the administration targeted six Russian technology companies it claims are supporting Kremlin intelligence agencies.

The administration also blamed - for the first time - Russian intelligence agencies for the SolarWinds cyber hack, which Moscow denies. The US said it had 'high confidence' the hack was masterminded by the SVR, one of the Russian intelligence agencies that was also involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee six years ago.

And the Biden criticized the Russian intelligence agencies for their involvement in the August 2020 poisoning of Aleksey Navalny and its targeting of Russian journalists.

Additionally, the National Security Agency on Thursday issued guidelines for companies on how to counter Russian cyber actions. The agency said it was taking such action to 'highlight additional tactics, techniques, and procedures being used; by Russian intelligence agencies 'so that network defenders can take action to mitigate against them. 

The massive Russian hacking campaign - familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach -targeted at least nine vital federal agencies, including the Treasury, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security departments. The scale of the hack is still being determined. 


Pictured: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region, Ukraine April 9, 2021

Pictured: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region, Ukraine April 9, 2021


Russian hackers are believed to have infected widely used software with malicious code, enabling them to access the networks of the federal agencies. Officials believe it was an intelligence gathering operation aimed at mining government secrets.

The sanctions, foreshadowed for weeks by the Biden administration, are the first retaliatory action announced against the Kremlin for last year's hack. 

The sanctions are intended to send a clear retributive message to Russia and to deter similar acts in the future. 

They come amid an already tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia amid a large Russian military buildup on the borders of Ukraine and in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014. 

President Biden told Putin this week in their call to 'de-escalate tensions' following a Russian military buildup on Ukraine's border, and said the U.S. would 'act firmly in defense of its national interests' regarding Russian intrusions and election interference.

Ukraine and the West have become worried about the Russian troops' concentration and have urged Moscow to pull them back. 

Russia has argued that it's free to deploy its forces on its territory and sternly warned the government in Kyiv against using force to reclaim control of the rebel-held territory east where more than 14,000 people have died in seven years of fighting.

But the Ukraine has warned Russia that it will bear 'very painful' consequences if it invades as Vladimir Putin continues to mass his forces in eastern Europe. 

Dmytro Kuleba, the country's foreign minister, said Thursday that Moscow is 'openly' threatening Ukraine with 'destruction' by stationing 80,000 troops along its border - with more arriving every day. 

'Today, the four of us can firmly declare that we condemn the exacerbation of the situation by Russia, the actions and statements of Moscow aimed at escalating tensions,' Kuleba said at a joint news conference with the Baltics ministers in Kyiv.

'The world is on the side of Ukraine and international law, and this is one of the elements of restraining Russia from reckless actions,' he added.  

It remained unclear whether the U.S. actions would actually result in changed behavior, especially since past measures by the U.S. have failed to bring an end to Russian hacking. 

The Obama administration expelled diplomats from the U.S. in 2016 in response to interference in that year's presidential election. 

And though Trump was often reluctant to criticize Putin, his administration also expelled diplomats in 2018 for Russia's alleged poisoning of an ex-intelligence officer in Britain. 

Last month, the U.S. sanctioned seven mid-level and senior Russian officials, along with more than a dozen government entities, over a nearly fatal nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing. 

Biden in Black Sea U-Turn as he CANCELS deployment of two warships despite calling Putin and threatening 'repercussions' over troop build-up on Ukraine border: President hits Moscow with sanctions and expels ten diplomats Biden in Black Sea U-Turn as he CANCELS deployment of two warships despite calling Putin and threatening 'repercussions' over troop build-up on Ukraine border: President hits Moscow with sanctions and expels ten diplomats Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:34 Rating: 5

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