U.S. lawmakers blast Trump decision to hold off on Russian Federation sanctions

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"By naming the whole Russian government, presidential administration and all Russian billionaires, the Trump administration has undermined and ridiculed the US sanctions on Russia", he says.

They chastised the president for declining to punish anyone under a part of the sanctions law that was meant to isolate Russia's defense and intelligence sectors for Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

And when the list finally came out last night (a few minutes before a midnight deadline), Russia-watchers noted that Treasury had simply copied the names of all 96 Russian billionaires from last year's Forbes "200 richest businessmen in Russia" list - rather than zeroing in on specific Kremlin cronies, as the sponsors of the law had originally desired.

"Certainly, this is an unfriendly move, which further exacerbates the already strained Russia-U.S. relations and hurts global relations as a whole".

Daniel Fried, formerly the State Department's top sanctions policy official, said: "I think the administration missed an opportunity to extend the use of sanctions" to deter Russian Federation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that the administration could still impose sanctions.

Echoing Lithuania's Linkevicius, Browder said that targeting Russian oligarchs puts pressure directly on the Russian president because "many oligarchs on the list are holding large amounts of money for Putin as trustees".

"We estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"I don't even understand on which criteria this list could be formed", said the minister, who has also been included on the US Treasury's blacklist.

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Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow following Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and Moscow's meddling in eastern Ukraine. They insist this is proof he's "soft" of Russian Federation.

"We know what we want".

The Treasury Department on Monday released the list of 114 Russian politicians and 96 "oligarchs" in line with a sanctions law passed by Congress previous year to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 USA election. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Mnuchin of "slow-walking" the report.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who came to prominence thanks to his investigations into official corruption, tweeted he was "glad that these (people) have been officially recognized on the global level as crooks and thieves".

CAATSA has some reporting requirements, which center on naming "oligarchs" the United States believes are close to Putin, and the possibility of the United States government imposing measures on Russia's sovereign debt. Some of the people on the list have long fallen out of favor with the Kremlin.

One said that the administration had given Congress a list of 10 deals the US believes will not go forward because the sanctions threat had been effective.

Around 1,500 people in Moscow and hundreds more in cities across Russian Federation took to the streets on Sunday in a protest organized by Navalny to support a boycott of presidential elections in March.

KELEMEN: So far, the administration argues there's no need for new sanctions. It also has vowed to retaliate, and even turned the allegation of election meddling against the United States by accusing it of interfering with Russia's presidential vote set for March.

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