The United States government on Friday hit Russian oligarchs, government officials and companies with sanctions, citing Moscow’s “range of malign activity around the globe.”
Seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they control and 17 senior government officials are on the list announced by the Treasury Department.
The move targets Russia’s elite and people in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
Among them is Kirill Shamalov, who is married to Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.
The US noted that Shamalov’s “fortunes drastically improved following the marriage,” and a year later he was able to borrow more than 1 billion dollars from state-owned Gazprombank, eventually joining “the ranks of the billionaire elite around Putin.”
Also included on the Treasury list are a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.
“The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
He accused the government in Moscow of engaging in “a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine.”
In addition, Russia supplies the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with “material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies and malicious cyber activities,” Mnuchin said.
In March, the U.S. imposed sanctions against five Russian entities and 19 individuals for cyber attacks and attempted interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
It marked the first use of a law Congress passed in June to punish Russia for its alleged election meddling.
While President Donald Trump signed the law, he later issued statements saying that he believed the legislation was “seriously flawed.”
The Treasury Department had in January named and shamed 210 Russian political figures and oligarchs linked to the Kremlin, issued in connection with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
But the list did not impose sanctions, fuelling criticism that Trump is unwilling to confront Moscow over its alleged meddling.
On Friday, Mnuchin said: “Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilising activities.”