Trump administration targets Putin's inner circle in new sanctions

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"Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities". "The Russian government.continues to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplies the Assad regime with weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempts to subvert Western democracies, and conducts malicious cyber activities".

Those punished aren't necessarily involved in the Russian actions in Syria, Ukraine or elsewhere that have drawn consternation from the west.

If Russia funneled money to American political campaigns or organizations as part of its attack on the 2016 election, one way it might have done so is by simply smuggling paper dollars in order to avoid electronic transfer records.

Former acting Central Intelligence Agency director John McLaughlin told NBC earlier this week that sanctions "on Putin's inner circle, the dozen or so wealthy oligarchs who park money and real estate in the West" would be a more effective action than the expulsion of diplomats. In total, 24 Russians and 14 entities were put on the list.

Deripaska has been accused of threatening to kill business rivals, wiretapping government officials, money laundering, extortion, and racketeering.

Rusal, a Russian aluminum giant also included on the list, fell 10 percent on the Moscow Exchange.

Rosoboroneksport, a state-owned weapons trading company, which the USA says has long-standing ties with the Syrian government.

"These companies now are radioactive", he said.

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Russia's state arms exporter, a key tool in Mr. Putin's efforts to support the modernisation of his own military by selling advanced hardware around the world, was also added to the sanctions list.

Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, urged Trump to set out steps to deter Kremlin aggression against the United States and its allies.

"American democracy is clearly degrading", the ministry said. Manafort and Gates have been indicted in the Mueller investigation, and Gates has pleaded guilty.

It doesn't do anything dumb, like go after Russian gas exports. "We have failed to impose sufficient costs", he said Tuesday during a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Senior administration officials on Friday stressed that the sanctions were not targeted at the Russian people, but were meant to cripple the finances of those elites who have "disproportionately benefited from the bad decisions made by the Kremlin on their behalf", according to one of the officials.

Trump's outgoing national security H.R. McMaster used his final public remarks before retiring Tuesday to publicly call for a tougher line on Russian Federation. And by no means would this be the sum total of what the US government should do to advance its concerns, said Rosenberg, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank.

The Trump administration has been under pressure by Congress to act to meet demands under a sanctions law passed by Congress last summer to punish Russian Federation for interfering in U.S. elections.

But pressure for the United States to take action against Russian Federation, especially from USA lawmakers, has been increasing. The administration has also expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian consulates in response to Russian behaviour, including the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain that has been blamed on Moscow. Senior Trump administration officials cast the penalties as part of a concerted and ongoing effort by the push back Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, emphasizing that since Trump took office previous year, the USA has punished 189 Russian-related people and entities with sanctions.