Biden Eyes Russia Retaliation After Review of Meddling, Hacking | #RussianHacker

Photographer: Leigh Vogel/UPI/Bloomberg

Biden administration officials have completed an intelligence review of alleged Russian misdeeds such as election interference and the SolarWinds hack, setting the stage for the U.S to announce retaliatory actions soon, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Possible moves could involve sanctions and the expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in the U.S. under diplomatic cover, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Senior officials were expected to meet Wednesday to discuss what steps to take.

One person familiar with the deliberations said the U.S. response would likely comprise several elements. That would include sanctions singling out people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as agencies linked to election interference.

The actions will be the outcome of the review President Joe Biden ordered on his first full day in office into four areas: Interference in the U.S. election, reports of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the SolarWinds attack and the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

The administration announced sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny last month but had so far held off on action in the other three areas.

Alexey Navalny GETTY sub

Photographer: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

All About the U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Putin’s Russia: QuickTake

The decision on what to do could be the biggest foreign policy test of the early Biden presidency. But the tone of the U.S.-Russia relationship was already set when the president, in an interview with ABC News last month, nodded in agreement when asked if he thought Putin was a “killer.” Biden also warned that Putin “will pay a price” for alleged election meddling.

Biden’s approach to Russia marks a break with that of his predecessor, Donald Trump. While the U.S. escalated sanctions on Russia and expelled diplomats during Trump’s tenure, the president was loathe to personally criticize Putin and said more focus should be placed on China as a threat to U.S. national security.

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