The Trump administration on Friday sanctioned seven oligarchs with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, including Putin's son-in-law and businessmen with links to the 2016 us presidential campaign, further widening the gap between Trump's rhetoric and actions towards Russia.
The United States imposed major sanctions on Friday against 24 Russians, striking at allies of President Vladimir Putin in one of Washington's most aggressive moves to punish Moscow for what it called a range of "malign activity", including alleged meddling in the 2016 us election.
U.S. officials say the activities that prompted the administration to act include cyber hacking, supplying the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons, and Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.
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".
Oleg Deripaska, who has been investigated for money laundering and accused of extortion.
Deripaska and other oligarchs on the list were not immediately available for comment but a spokesperson for Deripaska's industrial group Basic Element said:"The Company regrets this development and is now analysing the situation with its legal advisors". And while it temporarily spooked investors in Russian markets, economists say it has had little visible effect on Russia's economy so far.
"The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.
Those targeted by the new sanctions include Putin's body guard, son-in-law, the head of Russia's national security council and a former prime minister, CBS News' Kylie Atwood reports.
Igor Rotenberg, the son of Arkady Rotenberg, a friend of Mr Putin's since they were teenagers.
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- Alexei Miller, the longtime head of the state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant.
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. Many other targets were associated with Russia's energy sector, including parts of Gazprom.
There was no formal reaction from the Kremlin. For example, the targeting of Russia's lucrative state arms exporter, Rosoboroneksport, could complicate its ability to sell weapons to clients such as the Syrian government.
"This is an example of uncontrolled anti-Russian hysteria led by the United States and successfully exported to the European continent", Slutsky was quoted as saying by the Russian newswire Tass.
Assets of all 24 people from Russian Federation and 15 various organizations that fall under the US sanctions and fall under the US jurisdiction are blocked, US entities are banned from dealing with them, according to the US Treasury Department.
The sanctions were supported by Congress, and they were approved by Trump, who the Washington Post said signed the decree "grudgingly".
It was not clear whether any of those hit have significant holdings in the USA that could be seized, and if they did previously, they may have already moved their money elsewhere in anticipation of the sanctions.
Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former senior U.S. Treasury Department official, said the sanctions were significant, although there is more to do.
Mr. Trump begrudgingly signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in August previous year, despite arguing that it undermined his own authority to lead US foreign policy. In tandem with European allies, the Trump administration expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and shut down the Russian consulate in Seattle.
Billionaires Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, Suleiman Kerimov and Kirill Shamalov, who the US said is married to one of Putin's daughters, are on the hit list revealed by the US Treasury this afternoon.