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Russia Pulls US Ambassador

Russia's Foreign Ministry says relations are at 'a blind alley'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2021 2:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Russia has recalled its ambassador to the US following the release of US intelligence showing President Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2020 US presidential election to hurt Joe Biden's chances. The declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, released Tuesday, is the first official government finding of foreign interference in the 2020 presidential campaign, per the Wall Street Journal. It finds Putin approved various intelligence operations meant to support former President Trump's re-election while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a scheme meant to impede Trump. The report didn't indicate how this affected results. President Biden told ABC News on Wednesday that Putin would "pay a price" for his meddling. He added he'd told Putin to "be prepared" during a phone call in January.

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Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied any truth to the intelligence report, which he said would harm relations between the countries. The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to Moscow a day after the report's release. A rep for Russia's foreign ministry said there would be discussions on how to rectify US-Russia relations but blamed Washington for bringing them "to a blind alley." The Biden administration announced sanctions against Russian officials earlier this month in response to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. It's also reviewing how to respond to alleged bounties on US troops in Afghanistan and the SolarWinds hack of the Treasury and Commerce departments, per the Journal. The BBC reports new sanctions in response to the intelligence report could come as soon as next week. (Read more Russia stories.)

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