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U.S. sanctions against Russia called 'a good first step'

President Biden takes action following Russian election meddling, cyber hacking.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered a new round of economic sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow's 2020 election meddling and the Kremlin-linked Solar Winds computer breach in 2020 that penetrated numerous U.S. government networks.

"We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity," Biden said in remarks delivered from the White House.

The sanctions target more than 30 Russian entities and individuals that  U.S. intelligence says are involved in election meddling. 

The United States is expelling 10 personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission. The sanctions also target six Russian tech firms believed to provide support to Russian intelligence.

"The President is taking hard and fast action with an appropriately tailored response to provide a clear signal of our resolve without aggression," said Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Department of Defense, in testimony Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee.

But, all of this comes about, as Russian continues to build up military forces along its border with Ukraine.

The commander of US European Command told the committee, "We live in an increasingly complex and contested world."

General Tod Wolters added, "Everything we do is about generating peace. We compete to win. We deter. And if deterrence fails, we're prepared to respond to aggression with the full weight of the trans-Atlantic alliance."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Virginia) praised Biden's decision to impose the new sanctions. He said: "This is a good first step in making clear that these sorts of actions are unacceptable and will be met with consequences."

The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) also weighed in.

He said: “Under the previous administration, Russia acted with near impunity, but the sanctions announced today prove that Russia’s malign activity will not be tolerated under the Biden-Harris administration. These sanctions are the consequence of Russia’s efforts to subvert democracy and interfere in elections, both in the United States and around the world, their role in the SolarWinds hack, and their ongoing illegal occupation of Crimea."