U.S. imposes sanctions against Russian oligarchs; govt

Apr 08, 2018, 01:05

On the list there are also the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Mikhail Fradkov, Tula Region's Governor, Aleksei Dyumin, presidential aide Yevgeny Shkolov, presidential representative in the Southern Federal District Vladimir Ustinov, chief of the Interior Ministry's department for resistance to extremism Timur Valiulin, Bank of Russia deputy governor, Aleksander Torshin, Russian Guard chief Viktor Zolotov, State Duma Speaker Vladislav Reznik, and chief of the presidential office for socio-economic cooperation with the CIS countries, the republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia Oleg Govorun.

Friday, the Trump administration announced a fresh batch of sanctions on Russian oligarchs, businesses, and government officials, including billionaires and President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law Kirill Shamalov.

The restrictions particularly targeted some Russian corporate leaders, such as Oleg Deripaska, the founder and owner of the largest Russian industrial group, the Basic Element, or Aleksey Miller, the CEO of the Russian gas giant Gazprom.

On the London Stock Exchange, global depositary receipts of En+, an energy company majority-owned by Mr Deripaska, dropped by 19% on news of the sanctions.

Russia will not leave new United States sanctions and any future hostile actions without a tough response, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said after Washington announced a new round of restrictions against Moscow.

"We would like to advise Washington to get rid of illusions that we can be spoken with the language of sanctions", the ministry said.

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German police arrested Puigdemont in March while he was crossing into the country from Denmark on his way from Finland to Belgium. Spain has accused the Catalan separatist of rebellion and corruption after he organised an unsanctioned independence referendum.

Yet even as it rolled out the new penalties, Mr Trump's administration left open the possibility of "a good relationship with Russia" in the future. "And we're going to continue working forward in what we can to have that meeting and have a meeting with Vladimir Putin at some point".

Such sanctions place the United States in the category of "enemies of the market economy and honest and free competition" as they "use administrative methods to eliminate competitors in foreign markets".

"The requisitioning of private property and other people's money is known as theft", the ministry added. It also denounced the United States move as "yet another misguided step that [leads] to the destruction of free enterprise, competition and integration in the world economy." .

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump's top advisers have pushed for tougher actions against the Kremlin after the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the USA 2016 elections and a cyberattack described as the most costly in history. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. was "striking at ordinary Americans" by jeopardising "thousands of jobs".

But Congress persisted, backed by evidence from USA intelligence agencies, and in March the administration finally imposed sanctions on 19 Russian entities for "malicious cyber attacks".

Former Solicitor General Kenneth Starr said Saturday on "Fox & Friends" that the Mueller probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation doesn't seem to be actually investigating that particular allegation.

Trump Says US Not In 'Trade War With China'
News that China has issued a list of 106 US products that will be subject to additional tariffs is likely to weigh on Wall Street. China has imposed tariffs of its own in response to Trump's actions and remains optimistic about its manufacturing potential.

So far Mueller has indicted 19 people, including 13 Russians, and reports suggest he may soon ask to interview Trump himself.

But the move is likely to provoke a strong response from the Kremlin, which has expressed increasing exasperation with Washington's policies under the Trump administration despite hopes that the president may take a softer approach toward Moscow.

"Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities", said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Ties had already plummeted to a post Cold War low over last month's attack on a former Russian double agent living in England.

The Russian embassy in the United States responded: "Washington has delivered yet another blow to U.S".

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