U.S. President Joe Biden instructed the intelligence agencies to prepare a report on Russia with a "full assessment" of the situation around Alexei Navalny and cyberattacks on the U.S. government, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing on Thursday.
"While we are working with Russia to advance U.S. interests, we are also working to hold Russia accountable for its reckless and hostile actions. To that end, the President instructed the intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of cyberattacks against SolarWinds, Russia's interference in the 2020 election, its use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as allegations of awards to "militants" for "attacks" on U.S. troops in Afghanistan," TASS quoted Psaki as saying.
The Biden administration has no intention of "resetting" relations with the Kremlin, as it did under Barack Obama, sources familiar with the Democrats' position told The Washington Post.
According to them, the U.S. is preparing new measures in response to Russia's aggressive actions.
Scenarios ranging from tougher financial sanctions to cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure are being considered, sources told Reuters in December.
Although a specific list of actions has not yet been determined, the Biden administration is confident that they should lead to high economic, financial or technological losses for Russia.
The U.S. Treasury Department could target Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, believes Edward Fishman of the Atlantic Council, who worked on sanctions against Russia at the State Department during Barack Obama's presidency.
According to the US intelligence agencies, hackers associated with the Russian Foreign Intelligence service, are responsible for cyberattacks on the U.S. Government bodies and a number of private companies.
Sanctions against Russian state-owned companies and business empires of oligarchs associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be more effective, Fishman said, adding: "Symbolic (measures) will not suffice. We need the Russians to know that we are fighting back."
A non-symbolic, decisive measure could be to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system, said James Andrew Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Although, some sanctions can negatively affect financial interests or infrastructure of countries friendly to the United States, a source familiar with the discussions with Biden's team told Reuters.