Tomorrow, President Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland. Their summit comes at a critical time for our country, with Russia openly challenging us at a level not seen since the days of the Cold War.
Over the past six months alone, Russia has been tied to two of the most egregious ransomware attacks ever perpetrated against the United States. The first, the Colonial Pipeline Hack, which was carried out by Russian-based group “Darkside,” caused the worst gas shortage in decades. More than 17,000 gas stations ran dry and gas prices in certain localities spiked to over $7.00 per gallon.
And in Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are waging a war that has caused over 13,000 deaths, experts say Russian hackers are attacking their power grid as a test of their capabilities before potentially employing similar tactics in the United States.
But these cyber attacks aren’t their only recent transgression. Russia has also targeted and incarcerated individual American citizens. Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine who grew up in Leader McCarthy’s district in California, was on a trip to Russia when he was arrested under false pretenses and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. Earlier this year Trevor was moved to a holding cell where Russian authorities prohibit any communication with his family.
Tomorrow’s summit is an opportunity for our country to stand united, hold Russia accountable for these recent offenses, and demand Trevor’s immediate return home.
If Putin feigns denial about Russia’s cyber attacks, or refuses Trevor’s release, President Biden must take immediate action against Russia.
To show Russia we’re serious, President Biden should start with sanctioning Putin’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. After repeated attacks against the United States and our allies, why should Russia be given free rein to expand their oil and natural gas exports at our expense?
The United States cannot afford to take a weak approach with Putin.