United States slaps sanctions on Russian oligarchs

  • United States slaps sanctions on Russian oligarchs

United States slaps sanctions on Russian oligarchs

― Reuters picWASHINGTON, April 7 ― The United States struck President Vladimir Putin's inner circle yesterday, imposing sanctions on seven of Russia's most influential oligarchs and stoking a diplomatic crisis some have dubbed a new Cold War. The administration of President Donald Trump also accused Russian Federation of a continuing operation to hack the U.S. energy grid and other critical infrastructure, and spying on the United States. "The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Nevertheless, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the new sanctions did not mean that Trump's offer to sit down with Putin in Washington is off the table.

"The Russian government.continues to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplies the Assad regime with weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempts to subvert Western democracies, and conducts malicious cyber activities".

The sanctions could potentially hurt the Russian economy, especially the financial and energy sectors, and are part of Washington's effort to hold Russia to account for allegedly interfering in the election, which Moscow denies. "But they are", the embassy added, explaining that the companies added to the sanctions list employ thousands of people.

A state-owned arms-dealing company, accused by the USA of selling to Syrian President Bashar Assad, was also targeted, along with a subsidiary bank.

"I'd love to do it", Trump said, noting that his lawyers told him that an interview would occur within "two to three weeks".

Nineteen people, including several former members of the Trump campaign, have so far been hit with criminal charges stemming from the special counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including possible collusion.

The action is taken under the Executive Order (E.O.) 13661 and E.O.

Putin's government was blamed for the poisoning of a former Russian double agent living in close USA ally Britain last month, and the United States and several European states announced plans to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in response. Both remain in hospital more than a month after being poisoned.

The target list includes some who are closely tied to Putin himself, including top-tier officials involved in Kremlin decision-making and heads of the top state-controlled business entities. Senior Trump administration officials cast it as part of a concerted, ongoing effort to push back on Putin, emphasizing that since Trump took office previous year, the USA has punished 189 Russian-related people and entities with sanctions.

The oligarchs were not immediately sanctioned then, but the existence of the list - and a more detailed classified annex - created uncertainty over global business dealings with some Russian sectors. "That's a critical piece".