Tensions Between U.S. and Russia Have Experts Worrying About a New “Cold War”

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The tensions between the U.S. and Russia have experts worrying about a new “Cold War,” as Biden signed an executive order on Thursday, declaring a “national emergency” over the threat from Russia, as Biden administration imposed new sanctions on the country. 

The U.S. Department of State also said that they are expelling 10 officials from Russia’s bilateral mission. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, “Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.”

It can be remembered in an interview when Biden was asked if he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer”, he answered yes. 

A letter was also sent by the White House to the Congress stating that the Biden had issued an “Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

In the letter, the White House also stated that Russia aimed to “undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections,” engaged in “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” and targeted journalists and dissenters outside of its borders, and violated international law. 

Biden said in the letter that these acts constitute “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Blinken’s statement gave a more detailed answer, citing not only the SolarWinds hack that compromised many agencies in the federal government but also the poisoning of top Putin political rival Alexei Navalny. 

Blinken said, “We remain concerned about Navalny’s health and treatment in prison, and call for his unconditional release.” 

Navalny is currently under the custody of the Russian government and according to reports, he is not doing well. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki previously made a statement that “[t]he Russian government is responsible for his health and well-being.” 

On Thursday, Blinken also emphasized that “the United States will also seek opportunities for cooperation with Russia, with the goal of building a more stable and predictable relationship consistent with U.S. interests.”

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Meanwhile, according to the Russian state-run media organization TASS, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “[w]e condemn any pursuit of sanctions, we consider them illegal. In any case, the principle of reciprocity in this matter is valid; reciprocity in a way that best serves our interests.”

Peskov added, “It goes without saying that possible sanctions being discussed would by no means promote such a meeting,” in relation with the potential in person meeting between Biden and Putin. 

At a news conference, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Russia has summoned the U.S. ambassador for a “hard conversation.” However, he didn’t immediately detail specific retaliatory actions from Russia. 

The tough stance coming from the Biden administration comes after tensions have escalated between Russia and the U.S. during Biden’s first three months.

In a sit-down interview, Biden called Putin a killer after taking office. The Russian President was reportedly so upset over the comment that he left his quarantine facility, got a COVID-19 vaccine and then moved 28,000 Russian troops to the border with Ukraine. 

Earlier this month, Russian Bear bombers then went into action, which forced NATO to scramble 10 jets to intercept the Russian warplanes that flew over the North At lantic Ocean, a rare show of force near the Arctic. 

Last week, Putin also discreetly changed Russia’s constitution to allow him to stay in power until the year 2036, at that time he would be 83 years old. 

Late March, three Russian submarines also burst through the Arctic ice in a synchronized exercise, the Pentagon took note of it and Putin praised the move as a naval achievement. Each Russian sub can carry 16 ballistic missiles.

Defense Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon, “We’re monitoring very closely. Nobody wants to see the Arctic as a region become militarized.