Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Trump administration to hit more Russians with sanctions

Trump administration to hit more Russians with sanctions

The United States has punished dozens of Russian oligarchs and government officials with sanctions that took direct aim at President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, as President Donald Trump's administration tried to show he is not afraid to take tough action against Moscow.

The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials.

The latest USA sanctions indeed targeted some major Russian energy companies, such as En+ or Eurosibenergo as well as the United Company RUSAL, which is the world's second-largest aluminum company by primary production output.

The US had in March imposed sanctions on 19 Russian officials and five groups for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 American presidential elections.

Under the law, the U.S. Treasury Department released a public list of 210 people, including 96 wealthy Russian businessmen close to Putin's government and network, who could be subject to future sanctions.

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Also on the list are tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, under investigation in France over allegations he brought in millions of euros in suitcases full of cash, and Kirill Shamalov, a billionaire reported to be Putin's son-in-law.

According to the Hill, if the Congress approve the bill, the new sanctions will be based on the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which Donald Trump, U.S. President, signed in August 2017.

Russia's foreign ministry promised a "tough response" and said the United States had joined the "enemies of the market economy and honest and free competition" as they "use administrative methods to eliminate competitors" such as Rosoboronexport.

They officials ticked through a list of complaints about Russian actions overseas, including its annexation of Crimea, backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and cyber-hacking.

"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on April 6. Many other targets were associated with Russia's energy sector, including parts of Gazprom.

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Deripaska was previously linked to Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, now under investigation of possible collusion with Russian Federation in the 2017 presidential elections. But the administration said it would give guidance to Americans who may now have business with them about how to wind down that business and avoid running afoul of the sanctions.

Russia's state arms exporter, a key tool in Putin's efforts to support the modernization of his own military by selling advanced hardware around the world, was also added to the sanctions list.

It was not clear whether any of those hit have significant holdings in the US that could be seized, and if they did previously, they may have already moved their money elsewhere in anticipation of the sanctions.

Following the alleged murder attempt of Skripals by nerve agent on British soil, United Kingdom government had expelled 23 diplomats from London which was reciprocated by Russian Foreign Ministry with expulsion of similar number of British diplomats.

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