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US to announce new sanctions on Russia over cyber attack and election interference

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By Euronews
FILE - This June 6, 2013 file photo, shows the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.
FILE - This June 6, 2013 file photo, shows the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.   -   Copyright  Patrick Semansky/Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

US President Joe Biden is poised to announce a new round of sanctions against Russia. They're in response to a massive cyber-attack on America's federal agencies -- and interference in last year's presidential election.

Washington says Russia was behind the so-called Solar Winds hack, that breached the networks of nine US agencies, including the Treasury, and the departments of Energy and Homeland Security. It's also accused the Kremlin of backing influence operations to help Donald Trump in his unsuccessful bid for reelection. The expected sanctions come just days after Biden asked Vladimir Putin to join him for a presidential summit on Russia's tensions with Ukraine.

Euronews reporter Colin Campbell says the new sanctions are a clear sign that the Biden Adminstration is adopting a very different approach towards Russia.

"With this adminstration, with Joseph Biden at the helm, he is going to take on a different approach when it comes to Russia. He wants to punish them for what he believes are a series of missteps and intrusions - into the American elections, into cybersecurity breaches, and of course what we know of Alexei Navalny. So this can take on a wide array of different types of restrictions. We're looking at maybe 30 different groups, 12 different individuals. We're looking at a wide sweeping array of sanctions that can be imposed against Russia. This is very much different than his predecesor would have done."

Olga Oliker is Program Director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group in Brussels. She says sanctions are more effective when used as a threat - rather than as punishment after the event.

"All of these are sanctions imposed after the fact. This is a list of things Russia has done, that the United States is not happy with. So the expectation that it will change policy, well, the real logic is that the Russians will be frightened enough of future sanctions that might be imposed later to not do those things."

Listen to the full interview with Olga Oliker, by clicking on the media player above.