New U.S. Sanctions Against Russia

by By VOA  2018-03-22 00:00:00

In an effort to address “ongoing, nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced additional sanctions targeting 19 Russian individuals and five entities responsible for a range of destabilizing activities, including interference in the 2016 U.S. election and a series of destructive cyber-attacks.

In a written statement, the Treasury Department noted that one of those attacks, known as the NotPetya attack, attributed by the U.S. and Britain to the Russian military, “was the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history” and “resulted in billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the United States.”

Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary. (File) Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary. (File)

The Treasury Department declared that since “at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors have also targeted U.S. government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.”

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury block all property of those designated that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with them.

The Treasury Department noted that in addition to Russia's malign cyber activity, the U.S. continues to pressure Russia “for its ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine, occupy Crimea, meddle in elections, as well as for its endemic corruption and human rights abuses.” It added that the “recent use of a military-grade nerve agent in an attempt to murder two UK citizens further demonstrates the reckless and irresponsible conduct of its government.”

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has sanctioned more than 100 individuals and entities under Ukraine and Russia-related sanctions authorities. “These sanctions,” the Treasury Department stated, “are in addition to other ongoing efforts by Treasury to address destabilizing activity emanating from within Russia, including our sanctioning of Russians targeted for activities related to the North Korea sanctions program, the Global Magnitsky program, and the Sergei Magnitsky Act.”

When the new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities were announced March 15, White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders was asked if Russia were a friend or foe of the United States. “They're going to have to decide whether or not they want to be a good actor or a bad actor,” she replied. “I think you can see from the actions that we've taken up until this point, we're going to be tough on Russia until they decide to change their behavior.”

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