- The sanctions imposed are due to the hacking activities.
- Earlier this week, 6 GRU officers were indicted in the US.
- The Russian president Vladimir Putin denies the activities.
On October, 23, the United States Government has imposed sanctions against Russian Federal State “Central Scientific-Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics” (TSNIICHM). “The Russian Government continues to engage in dangerous cyber activities aimed at the United States and our allies,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
“This Administration will continue to aggressively defend the critical infrastructure of the United States from anyone attempting to disrupt it.”The information was announced via the US Treasury Department Press Release.
According to the US government. the institute is responsible for the malware that has been used around the globe to gain access to the sensitive data and information. Additionally, such technology “Triton” causes damage to the security system and it prevents its operation in case of the dangerous and emergency scenarios. Hence, it can cause the loss of lives.
It is a very dangerous trajectory to have such system deployed. However, the Kremlin is denying for using the aforementioned technology. Nevertheless, since when does Kremlin admit of theses kind of activities and the cyber warfare.
The US government states the institute under sanctions is responsible for the cyber attack on the petrochemical plant in the Middle East in 2017.
Furthermore, this sanctions are in the accordance of the CAATSA. CAATSA is the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The bill was passed on 27 July 2017, 98–2 in the Senate, after having passed the House 419–3.
The sanctions mean that, if any US citizen engages in any type of business activities with the above institute, they can face repercussions. Additionally, it would also mean dealing with the Russian companies in which the Institute has 50% stake.
This week, this is not the only serious response given to Russia. On Oct. 15, 2020, a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh returned an indictment charging six computer hackers. The hackers are responsible for the attacks in Ukraine and Georgia and France in attempt to destabilize political situations.
The hackers were residents and nationals of the Russian Federation (Russia) and officers in Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces according to the Justice News.
The Russian President made a statement after the sanctions were announced. Putin claims that Russia has not been involved in the activities that it is accused. He also pointed out that they are unfounded.
Alexei Navalny case was mentioned as well. It should be noted, Putin still refuses to actually address Navalny by his name. According to majority of the Russian outlets, Navalny is a foreign agent. Therefore, this tactic allows for the Russian populous to believe that Navalny has committed treason.
Overall, it is clear the Cold War 2.0 is escalating. It would be imperative to observe the future of the US-Russia relations after the US presidential election on the November 3rd. Depending on the winner of the election. the relationship can change significantly.