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Russia has summoned the US ambassador in Moscow for an official protest over President Biden calling Putin out as being a “war criminal”. This comes as the 46th US President warned US businesses to step up their security over fears Moscow will use cyber attacks to target the US as a form of retaliation.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned ambassador John Sullivan due to “recent unacceptable statements” made by Mr Biden about the Russian Premier, reported the Guardian.
The Ministry said in a statement that “it was emphasised that remarks such as these by the American president, which are unworthy of a state figure of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of a breach”.
President Biden accused Putin of war crimes due to his bombing of Ukrainian cities, despite initial claims that the invasion would only attack military targets.
His sentiments were echoed by the UK, France, Norway, Albania and Ireland, while an official investigation into possible war crimes has been launched by the International Criminal Court.
US Defence Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday: “We continue to see indiscriminate attacks against civilians [in Ukraine] which we believe is intentional.”
This week Biden has urged US businesses to ramp up their cyber defences “immediately” as a Russian cyber attack has become “likely”, according to CNN.
He said at the Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting in Washington on Monday: “The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential and it’s coming.
“One of the tools [Putin’s] most likely to use, in my view – in our view – is cyber attacks.
“They have a very sophisticated cyber capability.
“The point is that he has the capability, he hasn’t used it yet, but it’s part of his playbook.
“[It’s] a patriotic obligation that you invest as much as you can in making sure – and we will help in any way – that you have built up your technological capacity to deal with cyber attacks.”
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Deputy security advisor Anne Neuberger said during the White House Monday briefing that they believed Russia had been carrying out “preparatory activity” for potential cyber attacks.
She said their most recent warnings were “based on evolving threat intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States”.
She admitted that there was “no certainty” of an attack but the American government’s concern reflects the growing worry over Putin’s “volatile” behaviour.
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