Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin are to face sanctions in the US, according to American media reports, in retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. The sanctions could be announced as early as Thursday, two sources told Reuters.
Those affected were not named, and The Washington Post reported that the sanctions were still being finalized but that around six individuals may be affected.
Reuters said the affected oligarchs have ties to Putin as well as the Kremlin.
Last month, the White House sanctioned 19 individuals and five entities, including Russian intelligence services, in response to Moscow’s activities during the 2016 election campaign as well as numerous cyberattacks.
In February, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies in what Mueller’s office described as a plot to wage “information warfare” against the US.
Trump has faced fierce criticism for doing too little to punish Russia for the election meddling and other actions. His outgoing national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, used his final speech on Tuesday to warn that more must be done to counter Russian aggression.
He said the U.S. had “failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia, which meant “the Kremlin’s confidence is growing”.
“Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability. We are now engaged in a fundamental contest between our free and open societies and closed and repressive systems. Revisionist and repressive powers are attempting to undermine our values, our institutions and way of life,” McMaster said.
The White House and Treasury declined comment on whether they planned to impose sanctions this week. When asked about the issue, a senior U.S. official said: “The administration is committed to implementing the CAATSA law as we have said many times. We published an oligarch designation recently and the secretary of the Treasury said further action would be taken. But at this time we don’t have anything specific to announce.”