Friday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced an aggressive effort to limit the activities of influential Russian business leaders, saying the Trump administration will apply sanctions to seven Russian oligarchs and a dozen companies they control or own.
“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe. Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities,” Mnuchin said.
The sanctions are intended to penalize some of Russia’s most elite and wealthy industrialists, who are a part of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, “in response to the totality of the Russian government’s ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity around the world,” a senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters.
The Hill reported:
“This [is a] response to Russia’s continued attacks to subvert Western democracies,” a senior administration official said.
Those now sanctioned include Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted in the special counsel’s investigation into the Kremlin’s election-meddling efforts.
The Treasury Department is also sanctioning the chairman of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Putin adviser Suleiman Kerimov and Kirill Shamalov, who married Putin’s daughter in 2013.
Sanctioned companies and people will have any U.S. assets frozen and Americans will be banned from dealing with them.
In total, 38 Russian people and entities are being sanctioned, including 17 senior government officials and a state-owned weapons trading company that the U.S. says has aided Syrian government forces in the country’s civil war.
The sanctions are the latest move by the Trump administration to rebuke Moscow for malicious activities, even as the president holds seeks to improve his relationship with Putin.
Moscow has long denied it was involved in the election-meddling scheme.
The New York Times also reported:
The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on seven of Russia’s richest men and 17 top government officials on Friday in the latest effort to punish President Vladimir V. Putin’s inner circle for interference in the 2016 election and other Russian aggressions.
The sanctions are designed to penalize some of Russia’s richest industrialists, who are seen in the West as enriching themselves from Mr. Putin’s increasingly authoritarian administration.
From a source re: the new Russia sanctions: “Most of these sanctions obvious, actually, but Deripaska and Vekselberg are a very big deal. Vekselberg’s lifetime business partner Blavatnik gave a lot of money to GOP (he’s a US citizen) and will be working to get him off…”
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 6, 2018
The new sanctions, senior administration officials said, are in response to a number of Russian actions, including interference in U.S. elections, incursion into the Crimea, propping of Assad regime in Syria, destablizing actions in Western Europe.
— Mike Warren (@MichaelRWarren) April 6, 2018
SANCTIONS: US slaps sanctions on 7 Russian oligarchs, some of their companies, and on 17 senior Russian Government officials – but not Pres Putin. Sanctions intended to punish Russia for “brazen malign activity” including aggression against Ukraine and support for Assad regime.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 6, 2018
NEW: Trump administration sanctions 7 Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and 1 state-owned company and its subsidiary bank in response to Russia’s “worldwide malign activity.” https://t.co/BNYbVOpoMk pic.twitter.com/tEBzHVEhSy
— ABC News (@ABC) April 6, 2018
Was becoming clear, even before expulsions and today’s sanctions on individuals, that this administration has been tougher on Russia than its predecessor. More so now. https://t.co/bWp1aVNc87
— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 6, 2018