United States takes aim at Putin's allies in Russian Federation with new sanctions

President Donald Trump right and Russia President Vladimir Putin in November at the APEC Summit

The White House said such targeted sanctions would help to ensure that Russian oligarchs profiting from the Kremlin's destabilizing activities, including its interference of Western democratic elections in 2016 and 2017, would face consequences for their actions.

Putin's government dismissed the sanctions as "absurdity", arguing that the U.S. was punishing companies that have longstanding business ties to the U.S. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. was "striking at ordinary Americans" by jeopardizing "thousands of jobs".

United States democracy is being degraded as Washington is using all means to maintain its global hegemony, even those measures that harm the American people, Moscow has said, reacting to the new round of anti-Russian sanctions.

The most notable names on the list are oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Federation Council member and businessman Suleiman Kerimov, metals tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, son of oligarch Igor Rotenberg, the head of oil company Surgutneftegas Vladimir Bogdanov, the head of Russian natural gas giant Gazprom Alexei Miller, the head of Gazprombank Andrey Akimov, and the head of Russia's largest state-controlled bank VTB Andrei Kostin. "[Its only] desire is to ensure by all means that United States global hegemony remains, including pressuring countries that conduct an independent line and speak [with] their own voice, unlike Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The president had long disputed the idea that Russia's alleged cyber-espionage and propaganda efforts sped him to victory in the election, seeking better relations with Putin.

The sanctions freeze any assets that those targeted have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

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.

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

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.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited Russia's occupation in Crimea and its ongoing efforts to supply the Assad regime in Syria with materials and weapons in a statement announcing the sanctions. Many other targets were associated with Russia's energy sector, including parts of Gazprom.

"These actions are not aimed at the Russian people", officials said.

"Washington continues to frighten with the rejection of American visas (and) threaten Russian business with freezing property and financial assets, forgetting that the seizure of private property and other people's money is called robbery", the statement said. "But first of all we would like to recommend that Washington discard illusions that we can be spoken to in the language of sanctions". "Now, the sanctions cover captains of Russian business who refuse to play to Washington's scenario".

Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs who was also named in Friday's sanctions list, called the U.S. announcement "another unjustified, unfriendly and meaningless step", state-run media RIA-Novosti reported.

The politicians noted in the joint statement that Russia's government has authorized an attack on the British territory, which is a violation of the global law.

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