Russia Says U.S. SolarWinds Sanctions Could Lead to Confrontation

A Russian government official has warned sanctions the U.S. is reportedly set to impose on Moscow heighten the prospect of confrontation between the nations.

Moscow's first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, made these remarks following reports Russian officials and companies will be hit with punitive measures.

These are reportedly due to be implemented to punish the Kremlin for a cybersecurity hack on U.S. government departments, targeting SolarWinds software, and interference in the 2020 U.S. election.

Russia has denied being behind these actions.

Sources quoted by Bloomberg and Reuters said that up to 30 so far unnamed entities will be sanctioned. They also said up to 10 Russian officials are expected to be expelled from the United States.

Well, actions speak stronger than words! If that’s true and US continues to promote its baseless accusations it will get adequate response and deprive the world of maybe the last opportunity to avoid Great Powers’ confrontation instead of solving acute problems. Not our choice!🤷🏻‍♂️

— Dmitry Polyanskiy (@Dpol_un) April 15, 2021

Polyanskiy tweeted a CNN article describing the measures, expected to be announced on Thursday.

He added a message in English: "Well, actions speak stronger than words!

"If that's true and US continues to promote its baseless accusations it will get adequate response and deprive the world of maybe the last opportunity to avoid Great Powers' confrontation instead of solving acute problems.

"Not our choice!"

The Biden administration is also expected to issue an executive order which would ban U.S. financial institutions from purchasing ruble-denominated bonds from Russia's central bank, finance ministry and sovereign-wealth fund from June, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Russian media outlets focused on the impact the impending sanctions will have on the currency, the ruble, which sank by one percent in relation to the dollar early on Thursday.

U.S. intelligence officials say that the breach of SolarWinds software, which was discovered in December 2020, was likely the work of Moscow-backed hackers. The Kremlin denies any responsibility.

The breach was described by Microsoft president Brad Smith as the "most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen." It gave hackers access to thousands of U.S. companies and government departments.

The sanctions are also in response to the conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to influence Americans to vote for former President Donald Trump and sway the electorate away from President Joe Biden. The Kremlin denies responsibility.

The U.S. State Department had not been satisfied with the initial sanctions that were proposed and demanded more expanded measures which is why their rollout has taken longer than expected, CNN reported.

Sanctions are also reportedly in the offing over reports that Moscow offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The forthcoming measures add to tensions following Biden agreeing with the assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "killer" in an interview in March. The pair are due to meet face-to-face in a third country in the coming months.

Newsweek has contacted the State Department and Polyanskiy for comment.

Kremlin and Moscow
The Kremlin and skyscrapers of Moscow are shown on December 17, 2020. Russia faces U.S. sanctions over the SolarWinds hack of U.S. government departments which the Kremlin denies responsibility for. YURI KADOBNOV/Getty Images