US hits Russian oligarchs with sanctions
The United States punished dozens of Russian oligarchs and government officials Friday with sanctions that took direct aim at President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as President Donald Trump’s administration tried to show he’s not afraid to take tough action against Moscow.
Seven Russian tycoons, including aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, were targeted, along with 17 officials and a dozen Russian companies, the Treasury Department said. Senior Trump administration officials cast it as part of a concerted, ongoing effort to push back on Putin, emphasizing that since Trump took office last year, the U.S. has punished 189 Russia-related people and entities with sanctions.
Rather than punishing Russia for one specific action, the new sanctions hit back at the Kremlin for its “ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern” of bad behavior, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment by name and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. The officials ticked through a list of complaints about Russia’s actions beyond its borders, including its annexation of Crimea, backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and cyber-hacking.
Above all else, Russia’s attempts to subvert Western democracy prompted the U.S. sanctions, officials said, in a direct nod to concerns that the U.S. president has failed to challenge Putin for alleged interference in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power.