The United States seeks no escalation with Russia and believes both countries can cooperate where their interests converge, US President Joe Biden said in an address to Congress.
“With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences,” according to the transcript provided in advance by the White House.
He took credit for responding “in a direct and proportionate way” to Russia’s alleged interference in US elections and cyberattacks. Russia denies all allegations.
“But we can also cooperate when it’s in our mutual interests. As we did when we extended the New START Treaty on nuclear arms – and as we’re working to do on the climate crisis,” Biden is poised to say.
Tensions intensified between Washington and Moscow following a US intelligence report that alleged Russian intelligence was behind last year’s SolarWinds hack on US information technology systems and accused Moscow of interfering in the 2020 US election.
In April, the Biden administration slapped sanctions on 32 Russian entities and individuals over these allegations and other hostile acts against US interests. Moscow has denied the accusations as lacking any evidence.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory measures, among which were the proportionate expulsion of US diplomatic mission staff, termination of activities in the country of US funds and NGOs controlled by the State Department and other US government agencies, and a ban for eight current and former US officials from entering Russia indefinitely, as well as an offer to Ambassador John Sullivan to travel to Washington for consultations. Sullivan left for Washington on April 22.