USA imposes sanctions on Putins oligarch allies

Oleg Deripaska attends an agreement signing ceremony with the Krasnoyarsk region's government in Moscow Russia

White House officials said that these sanctions were not meant to harm Russian citizens but instead were meant to cripple Russian elites, some of which have indirect ties to President Donald Trump. In January, lists of Russian officials and oligarchs were published by the State Department and Treasury. "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".

Among the companies targeted by the U.S. included GAZ Group, Russia's leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles owned by Deripaska along with Russian Machines and Renova Group comprised of investment funds and management companies operating in the energy sector in Russia.

Also on the list are tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, under investigation in France over allegations he brought in millions of euros in suitcases full of cash, and Kirill Shamalov, a billionaire reported to be Mr. Putin's son-in-law.

Senior Trump administration officials cast it as part of a concerted, ongoing effort to push back on Putin, emphasising that since Trump took office previous year, the U.S. has punished 189 Russian-related people and entities with sanctions.

Deripaska resigned as president of EN+ in February after he was one of dozens of billionaires placed on a US government list of Russian oligarchs in January.

"I would hasten to say that Russian Federation hawks may welcome this but wouldnt find it satisfying".

"The U.S.is taking these actions in response to the totality of the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity across the world", one official said. Shamalov is married to Putin's daughter, Katerina Tikhonova. American officials expect the sanctions to be noticed far and wide given the high profiles of the people being sanctioned and their proximity to the Kremlin. The sanctions will freeze all US assets of those listed and prevent Americans from doing business with them.

The sanctions also include Andrey Akimov, chair of the management board of Gazprombank, Russia's largest state-owned bank, as well as Viktor Vekselberg, chair of Russian investment company Renova Group.

Earlier, the U.S. imposed sanctions against nine Russian companies, and the question on sanctions against 12 companies was specified.

"Certainly the grounds for putting my name on the list of SDNs as provided by USA officials are groundless, ridiculous and absurd", he added, using the acronym for Specially Designated Nationals.

The Trump administration has been under pressure by Congress to act to meet demands under a sanctions law passed by Congress in 2017 to punish Russian Federation for interfering in United States elections.

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

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