Photo Credit: Solundir / Wikimedia
View of the Strait of Kerch — from the tower of Yenikalsky Lighthouse at Cape Fonar, located in Kerch municipality, Crimea.

In response to reports of Russia’s escalations against Ukraine – and a list of other Russian activities on a very long, itemized list — President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on Thursday 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.”

Russia Announces Closure of Kerch Strait, Blocks 2 Ukrainian Ports

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Included in the list of “harmful foreign activities” being carried out by Russia, the president wrote, were Russia’s efforts to “undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states,” which the Executive Order said “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.”

The Executive Order detailed the sanctions being declared against “any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General or the Secretary of State… to operate or have operated in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy” and/or any person to be responsible for or complicit in or “in any way” engaged in the list of activities being sanctioned by the US, of which there were at least two dozen.

“The Biden administration has been clear that the United States desires a relationship with Russia that is stable and predictable,” said a statement released by the White House.

“We do not think that we need to continue on a negative trajectory. However, we have also been clear – publicly and privately – that we will defend our national interests and impose costs for Russian Government actions that seek to harm us.”

Ten diplomats were expelled by the Biden administration from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington DC, including several “representatives of Russian intelligence services.”

Included in the long list of unacceptable Russian actions was the massive cyber attack on US government offices last year, interference in the recent US national elections, and “Russia’s ongoing occupation and repression in Crimea, and “unilateral Russian provocations along the Line of Contact in eastern Ukraine, in occupied Crimea and along Ukraine’s borders.”

The US is “in partnership with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada” in “agreeing on the need for Russia to immediately cease its military building and inflammatory rhetoric,” the statement added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.