US imposes sanctions against Russian oligarchs and government officials

The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vl...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 3:08 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 3:08 PM

The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control.

The measures announced by the Treasury Department on Friday were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials and the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank.

The punitive actions are the latest escalating step by the US to punish Putin's inner circle for interfering in the 2016 election and other ongoing aggressions across the globe in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.

The White House said such targeted sanctions would help to ensure that Russian oligarchs profiting from the Kremlin's destabilizing activities, including its interference of Western democratic elections in 2016 and 2017, would face consequences for their actions.

"We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful," President Donald Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited Russia's occupation in Crimea and its ongoing efforts to supply the Assad regime in Syria with materials and weapons in a statement announcing the sanctions.

A senior administration official told reporters in a briefing the sanctions had been under review for some time but were not imposed solely in response to a single event. Rather they were "in response to the totality of the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity around the world."

Friday's sanctions list targets a number of Russian tycoons, including Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire who once had close ties to Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Kirill Shamalov, an energy executive who married Putin's daughter; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of euros into France in suitcases.

The move comes after 60 American diplomats left Russia as part of tit-for-tat series of expulsions following the poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter in Britain, allegedly at the hands of the Kremlin. The US joined more than 20 countries expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats and intelligence officers.

While Russia has denied any involvement, the attack is seen by both the US and key allies as part of a pattern of increasingly aggressive action by Putin, which has included military interventions in Georgia and Ukraine, ongoing support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and interference in the democratic elections in the US and Europe.

Trump's outgoing national security H.R. McMaster used his final public remarks before retiring Tuesday to publicly call for a tougher line on Russia. "We have failed to impose sufficient costs," he said Tuesday during a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

While Trump has continued to press for good relations with Russia, Congress and the rest of the administrations have pursued efforts to punish the Kremlin.

So far, the administration has sanctioned 189 Russian related individuals and entities under various programs, according to the senior administration official.

In January, the US identified more than 200 wealthy Russians, top officials and business leaders in response to a sanctions law passed by Congress last summer to punish Russia for interfering in US elections. Months later in March the administration slapped sanctions on Russian government hackers and spy agencies, including people named in FBI Robert Mueller's indictment.

The 17 senior Russian officials whose assets will be frozen include Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council; Vladimir Kolokoltsev, minister of internal affairs and general police of the Russian Federation; and Evgeniy Shkolov, an aide to Putin.

Among the companies targeted by the US include GAZ Group, Russia's leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles owned by Deripaska, and Russian Machines and Renova Group, which is comprised of investment funds and management companies operating in the energy sector in Russia.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday saying it would provide a "harsh response" to sanctions.

"Washington continues to frighten with the rejection of American visas (and) threaten Russian business with freezing property and financial assets, forgetting that the seizure of private property and other people's money is called robbery," the statement said.

The statement added the "language of sanctions" would not work with Russia.

"We would like to advise Washington to get rid of illusions that we can be spoken to with the language of sanctions," the statement continued.

The Russian Embassy in the United States also issued a statement Friday criticizing the sanctions.

"Washington once again struck at the Russian-American relations, now the captains of Russian business who refused to play by the Washington scenario got under the sanctions," it said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. "The US made another erroneous step to destroy the freedom of entrepreneurship and competition, integration processes in the global economy."

The statement went on to say the US had a "desire to split" Russian society, which "will not work," adding "under the external pressure, the country has always united around its leader. The recent elections of the President of Russia have demonstrated the support of the overwhelming majority of the Russian people to Vladimir Putin."

A spokesman for Rosoboronexport called the latest US sanctions a "pure form of unfair competition," Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs who was also named in Friday's sanctions list, called the US announcement "another unjustified, unfriendly and meaningless step," state-run media RIA-Novosti reported.

"This is an attempt to use the tools (sanctions) to justify the absence of a real strategy and justify the alleged legitimacy of its actions against Russia. This is the way to nowhere. Russia cannot be frightened by it and especially cannot be broken by it," Kosachev said.

Oleg Deripaska described the US decision as "groundless, ridiculous and absurd."

"The events this morning are very unfortunate but not unexpected," Deripaska said in a statement provided to CNN by a spokesperson for Basic Element, one of his businesses.

"Certainly the grounds for putting my name on the list of SDNs as provided by US officials are groundless, ridiculous and absurd," the statement said. "I am preparing to celebrate Russian Orthodox Easter on Sunday and will then analyze the emerging situation with our lawyers early next week and provide some comments."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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