(MENAFN - Caribbean News Global)
US President Joe Biden (L) and British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
By Caribbean News Global
ENGLAND/USA - The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has summoned the Russian ambassador over the United Kingdom's deep concern at a pattern of malign activity, including cyber intrusions, interference in democratic processes, and the build-up of military forces near the Ukrainian border and in illegally-annexed Crimea; while the US has announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 US elections.
A FCDO spokesperson, said : 'The UK government is deeply concerned about a pattern of malign behaviour by the Russian State. At today's summons, FCDO permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton made clear the UK's support for the actions announced by president Biden in response to Russia's recent activity. He set out the UK assessment that the Russian Intelligence Services were behind the SolarWinds compromise. He informed the Ambassador that the UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter malign operations by the Russian Intelligence Services.
'Sir Philip also stated the UK's concern at the build up of Russian military forces near the Ukrainian border and illegally-annexed Crimea. These activities are threatening and destabilising. Russia needs to cease its provocations and de-escalate tensions in line with its international obligations.'
US State Department
'We have engaged Russian authorities to share our concerns about their actions and the steps we are taking in response. The president is signing a new Executive Order on Russia that will broaden the scope of our sanctions authorities. Under this new Executive Order, the US Department of the Treasury is issuing a directive prohibiting US financial institutions from conducting transactions in the primary market for new ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021. This Executive Order also provides authority for the US government to expand sovereign debt sanctions on Russia as appropriate.
The US Department of State is also expelling ten officials from Russia's bilateral mission. In addition, the US Department of the Treasury is announcing sanctions against entities and individuals involved in election interference and against companies that support the malign activities of the Russian intelligence services responsible for the SolarWinds intrusion and other recent cyber incidents. These sanctions will serve to reduce Russian resources available to carry out similar malign activities.
In addition, together with partners and allies, on March 2 the US responded to Russia's attempt to poison Aleksey Navalny using a chemical weapon and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment. We remain concerned about Navalny's health and treatment in prison, and call for his unconditional release.
These actions are intended to hold Russia to account for its reckless actions. We will act firmly in response to Russian actions that cause harm to us or our allies and partners. Where possible, the United States will also seek opportunities for cooperation with Russia, with the goal of building a more stable and predictable relationship consistent with US interests.
'Additionally, the State Department is taking steps to bolster cybersecurity partnerships internationally, including by providing a new training course with partners on the policy and technical aspects of publicly attributing cyber incidents and by supporting trainings on responsible state behavior in cyberspace.'
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