Moscow has objected to a top U.S. official saying that a "message" would be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian cyberattacks on American political institutions.
"The threats directed against Moscow and our state's leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the U.S. vice president," RIA Novosti quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on October 15.
In an interview with NBC News released on October 14, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was asked why the United States has not retaliated against Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 U.S. election by leaking the e-mails of top Democratic party officials and through other breaches.
"We're sending a message" and Russian President Vladimir Putin will get it, Biden said. "We have the capacity to do it and the message will be sent. He'll know it, and it will be at the time of our choosing and under the circumstances that have the greatest impact."
NBC reported that the White House is considering an "unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia" aimed at "embarrassing" the Kremlin leadership.
Biden said that, in retaliating, U.S. actions will be "proportional" to the impact from leaks of documents hacked by Russia in recent months.
At the same time, he questioned whether the Russian hacks have had "the capacity to fundamentally alter the election" on November 8.
Biden indicated that the U.S. response to Russia will be clandestine, saying he "hopes" the public will not know about it.
Based on reporting by AFP and NBC