Washington D.C.: The Trump administration on Friday imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 17 top government officials for doing ‘malign activities’, which also included the alleged meddling of the 2016 US presidential election. The move, taken by the administration, is an attempt to target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘inner circle.’
“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe. Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilising activities,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
A senior Trump administration official said, “This [is a] response to Russia’s continued attacks to subvert Western democracies.” According to The Hill, the 24 Russians, who are now under economic sanctions, include Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch having extremely close ties with Putin. Others include Viktor Zubkov, the chairman of a Russian energy company named Gazprom, Putin’s adviser Suleiman Kerimov and Kirill Shamalov, a Russian businessman, who married Putin’s daughter in 2013.
Also targeted is Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a figure in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. Owing to his closeness with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Deripaska has been targeted with US sanctions previously. However, officials said those being announced Friday were ‘more comprehensive.’
The US assets of the sanctioned Russians have been frozen by the Treasury Department and American citizens will now be prohibited from dealing any business activities with them. With this, a total of 38 people from Russia have been imposed with economic sanctions, which also includes 17 senior government officials and a state-owned weapons trading company, which Washington D.C. claims that it has “aided Syrian government forces in the country’s civil war.”
The announcement came after the US last week expelled 60 Russian diplomats and shut down its consulates in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as part of an international effort of ‘punishing’ Russia for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in the United Kingdom.
Russia has continually denied responsibility for the attack. Also, the country has denied its involvement in the US election. Last month, The Trump administration imposed sanctions on two-dozen Russian individuals for ‘malicious cyber activity’, including their alleged interference in the election. Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the international affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said the sanctions were ‘baseless and unfriendly’. (ANI)