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United States sanctions Russian oligarchs, government officials

United States sanctions Russian oligarchs, government officials

"Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilising activities", a statement from the treasury department said on Friday.

On March 15, the Trump administration said it would impose sanctions on 19 people and five entities, including Russian intelligence services, for cyber attacks stretching back at least two years.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska walk to attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam, Nov. 10, 2017.

Above all else, Russia's attempts to subvert Western democracy prompted the USA sanctions, officials said, in a direct nod to concerns that the US president has failed to challenge Putin for alleged interference in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power. The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials. Senior administration officials cast the penalties as part of a concerted and ongoing effort by the U.S. to push back Russian President Vladimir Putin's government and his inner circle, emphasizing that since Trump took office past year, the USA has punished 189 Russian-related people and entities with sanctions. But officials said the goal was to put pressure on Putin by showing that those who have benefited financially from his position of power are fair game.

Also targeted is aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a figure in the Russian Federation investigation over his ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

A state-owned arms-dealing company, accused by the USA of selling to Assad, was also targeted, along with a subsidiary bank. Any assets they hold in areas under U.S. jurisdiction could now be frozen.

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Numerous targets are individuals and businesses associated with Russia's energy sector, including those affiliated with state-owned Gazprom. "Of course, we will not leave the current and any new anti-Russian attack without a tough response". "Now, the sanctions cover captains of Russian business who refuse to play to Washington's scenario". In January, lists of Russian officials and oligarchs were published by the State Department and Treasury.

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.

Trump begrudgingly signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in August past year, despite arguing that it undermined his own authority to lead United States foreign policy.

But Friday's announcement also came as Washington and its allies face a new diplomatic crisis with the Kremlin over the poisoning of Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter on British soil.

But Congress persisted, backed by evidence from U.S. intelligence agencies, and in March the administration finally imposed sanctions on 19 Russian entities for "malicious cyber attacks".