Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

United States imposes sanctions on 24 Russians close to Vladimir Putin

United States imposes sanctions on 24 Russians close to Vladimir Putin

The US has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russian oligarchs, as the Trump administration continues its assault against friends of President Vladimir Putin.

Friday's sanctions were based on a confidential report that included a list of Russian oligarchs, corrupt politicians and the ruling elite close to Mr. Putin that was drafted earlier this year by USA officials.

Senior officials in Donald Trump's administration announced the sanctions as part of an ongoing effort by the USA to push back against Mr Putin's government.

"And that message is that actions have consequences", said another senior administration official, who briefed reporters only on the condition of anonymity.

While Russia has denied any involvement, the attack is seen by both the U.S. 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 USA and Europe.

The move follows the imposition of sanctions last month on 5 Russian entities and 19 individuals for meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election.

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For instance, Deripaska is a billionaire with a close relationship to Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Deripaska resigned as president of EN+ in February after he was one of dozens of billionaires placed on a US government list of Russian oligarchs in January.

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. Deripaska's conglomerate, Basic Element, said it regretted the sanctions and was analysing it with its lawyers.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has hit 38 Russian individuals and entities with sanctions for what it calls "malign activity". "Of course, we will not leave the current and any new anti-Russian attack without a tough response". Yet in recent weeks Trump's administration has rolled out a series of actions - including several economic and diplomatic steps - to increase pressure on Putin and those presumed to benefit from his power.

Russian Federation analyst Boris Zilberman, of Washington think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the sanctions might finally give Mr. Putin's allies pause as "until there is a change in the Kremlin's behaviour their bottom lines will suffer and their ability to enjoy the spoils of their corruption will be hampered". The House intelligence committee said, apparently based on Trump Jr.'s account, that the two did not discuss the election.

"Not at all", Sanders said.

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"These actions are not aimed at the Russian people", officials said.

-Kirill Shamalov, who is reportedly Putin's son-in-law, married to his daughter Katerina Tikhonova, although neither Putin nor the Kremlin have acknowledged that she is his daughter. Yet others on the list are far from the Kremlin's orbit, including some who long have fallen out of favour or hold technical positions. Alexey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russian Federation, and Aleksandr Zharov, the Head of Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, - ed.) appeared in the sanctions list as well. Both Miller and Kostin are longtime key members of Putin's team.

A senior Trump administration official said that the penalties were provoked by a long-standing pattern of Russian belligerence that included Moscow's attempts to meddle in the United States election, its actions in Crimea and its support of the Assad government in Syria - "a... A year later he was able to borrow more than one billion dollars through a loan from Gazprom bank, a state-owned entity, subject to sectoral sanctions".

The newly-imposed sanctions will freeze assets of those singled out, and ban Americans from doing business with them. 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.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former senior U.S. Treasury Department official, said the sanctions were significant, although there is more to do.

The 2017 sanctions law was passed by lawmakers as U.S.

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Word also came Friday morning that Sergei Skripal, the ex-Russian spy Putin's regime attempted to murder in London by exposing him to a nerve agent, is responding well to treatment and improving rapidly.

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