US sanctions Russian oligarchs, government officials

Vladimir Putin the Russian president left and Oleg Deripaska right. Mr Deripaska has been accused by America of 'directly or indirectly' working for the Russian government

US sanctions Russian oligarchs, government officials

"The fact that Rosoboronexport is the target confirms the true aim of the sanctions", it said.

The fresh sanctions are the latest step by the United States against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the U.S. 2016 election and a cyberattack, CNN said.

Seven Russian tycoons, including aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, were targeted, along with 17 officials and a dozen Russian companies, the Treasury Department said. They officials ticked through a list of complaints about Russian actions overseas, including its annexation of Crimea, backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and cyber-hacking.

To the dismay of Mr Trump's critics and of Russia hawks, the president has continued to avoid directly criticising Putin himself and recently invited the Russian leader to meet with him, possibly at the White House.

In another development this week, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that "work for delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems [to Turkey] in 2019 has been finalized", according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

"Having obtained zero results from the 50 previous rounds of sanctions, Washington continues to employ fear with the refusal to issue American visas, the threatening of Russian businesses with the freezing of companies' assets and property, while forgetting that the requisitioning of private property and other people's money is known as theft", the Ministry added.

Bill Browder, a US-born British financier whose lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in a Russian jail while investigating alleged tax fraud, tweeted that Washington was "finally hitting Putin and his cronies where it counts".

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The US Treasury on Friday turned away from past efforts such as curbs on visas to unleash measures that will sever access to global financial markets, buyers and suppliers for several of Russia's Kremlin-connected billionaires.

The Trump administration's action means USA citizens can no longer engage in dealings with the proscribed individuals or entities.

Following the alleged murder attempt of Skripals by nerve agent on British soil, United Kingdom government had expelled 23 diplomats from London which was reciprocated by Russian Foreign Ministry with expulsion of similar number of British diplomats.

Russian Federation denies interfering in the election.

U.S. officials confirmed that their action against the oligarchs was in part related to Russia's alleged interference in the USA vote, but stressed the broader nature of their concerns. "The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Moscow denies involvement in the attack, but Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the nerve agent, novichok, only known to be manufactured in Russian Federation.

Trump's administration reacted by expelling 60 Russians they accused of being spies working under diplomatic cover and Moscow responded in kind.

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