Russia promises 'tough response' to US sanctions

Alexander Shcherbak  TASS

Preparations for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be affected by sweeping U.S. sanctions imposed yesterday on Russian government officials and businessmen, the White House said, Reuters reported.

"We will not let the current attack, or any new anti-Russian attack, go without a tough response", Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, after the U.S. sanctions which also target 12 companies owned by the oligarchs, 17 senior Russian officials and a state-owned arms export company.

A state-owned arms-dealing company, accused by the USA of selling to Syrian President Bashar Assad, was also targeted, along with a subsidiary bank.

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.

In parallel, and to Trump's fury, former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller has been empowered as a special prosecutor to investigate possible collusion between the president's campaign and Russian Federation.

The assets of all 24 people from Russian Federation and 15 various organizations that fall under the US sanctions and under US jurisdiction have been blocked, and American entities are banned from dealing with them, according to the US Treasury Department.

- Kirill Shamalov, who is reportedly Mr Putin's son-in-law, married to his daughter Katerina Tikhonova, although neither Mr Putin nor the Kremlin have acknowledged that she is his daughter. Any assets they hold in areas under United States jurisdiction could now be frozen.

"What we see in the sanctions is a U.S. attempt to split Russian society", the Russian embassy in the U.S. said in its statement, adding that such attempts would fail.

Twelve companies owned by the oligarchs, the state arms exporter and a bank are also sanctioned. But Leonid Slutsky, who chairs the foreign relations committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, said there was "no sensible reasons or grounds" for the US actions.

"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on April 6. It also denounced the U.S. move as "yet another misguided step that [leads] to the destruction of free enterprise, competition and integration in the world economy." .

The officials ticked through a list of complaints about Russia's actions beyond its borders, including its annexation of Crimea, backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian president Bashar Assad, and cyber-hacking.

Mnuchin added that Russians "who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities".

As a result, all assets subject to USA jurisdiction of the designated individuals and entities, and of any other entities blocked by operation of law as a result of their ownership by a sanctioned party, are frozen, and USA persons are generally prohibited from dealings with them.

Sergei Skripal is recovering in hospital, but officials in Britain and its ally the United States say he was poisoned by "Novichok", a nerve agent they say only Russian intelligence could have deployed.

The post United States Slams Sanctions Against Putin Over Spy Row appeared first on Channels Television.

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