The United States announced economic sanctions against Russian Federation on Thursday and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's U.S. election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity.
The U.S. also said it was sanctioning "five individuals and three entities related to Russia's occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and its severe human rights abuses against the local population".
As part of the sanctions, the Biden administration accused Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service of being behind the massive SolarWinds hack, in which hackers exploited software from the IT group SolarWinds to compromise data from thousands of customers and several federal agencies.
Biden was scheduled to deliver remarks on his Russian Federation policy at 4:30 pm (2030 GMT), the White House said.
For its part, the United Kingdom government's National Cyber Security Centre said Thursday that it was "highly likely" that the SVR was behind the SolarWinds breaches.
Last month, the U.S. sanctioned seven mid-level and senior Russian officials, along with more than a dozen government entities, over a almost fatal nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing.
They come amid an already tense relationship between the US and Russia, with US President Joe Biden telling Russian President Vladimir Putin this week that the US would "act firmly in defence of its national interests" regarding Russian intrusions and election interference.
Britain on Thursday said it had summoned the Russian ambassador in the United Kingdom to express its deep concern at what it called Moscow's "pattern of malign activity".
President Joe Biden used a new executive order to authorize the actions, which also included a prohibition on US financial firms participating in the "primary" bond market maintained by Russia's Central Bank and other Russian institutions after June 14.
"He informed the Ambassador that the United Kingdom will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter malign operations by the Russian Intelligence Services".
Sullivan said Thursday morning that Biden invoked a conversation earlier this year in which Biden had warned his Russian counterpart that the United States would "respond" if it determined Russia was behind recent cyber intrusions and election interference in the United States.
Zakharova also said that a Russian response to the sanctions was "unavoidable".
At the same time, the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have today issued an alert to expose further SVR-linked exploitation of five common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) to target both public and private sector organisations in the US and around the world. Zakharova said the US actions would lead to a "decisive rebuff" from Russian Federation.
The series of USA statements on Russian cyber-operations had other revelations: The Treasury Department formally linked Russia's FSB intelligence agency with a ransomware gang known as EvilCorp. "Responsibility for what is happening lies entirely on the U.S".