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US imposes new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and government officials

Russian President Vladimir Putin observes Thursday during a meeting of the State Council at the Kremlin in Moscow. The U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions against 38 Russian individuals and entities. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States will impose sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and entities, including 17 members of the Russian government. The Treasury Department announced the sanctions in a news release on Friday.

The news release mentioned Russian actions in Ukraine, its support of the Assad regime, and cybercrime, but did not mention the poisoning of former Russian double agent Col. Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom, or the expulsion of diplomats caused by that incident.

In addition to government officials, the sanctions will target seven oligarchs who made their fortunes buying state-owned businesses from the government when the Soviet Union collapsed, 12 companies controlled by these oligarchs, a state-owned weapons trading company, and a Russian bank.

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Russian government of operating “for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites.”

He also said:

“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities.  Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”

The state-owned Russian weapons trading company mentioned in the sanctions, Rosoboroneksport, is accused of having “longstanding and ongoing ties to the Government of Syria, with billions of dollars’ worth of weapons sales over more than a decade.” The Russian bank hit with this round of sanctions, The Russian Financial Corporation Bank (RFC Bank) is owned by Rosoboroneksport.

One of the Russians hit by this round of sanctions is Kirill Shamalov, the former son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Shamalov lost a sizeable amount of his fortune when he and Putin’s youngest daughter, Katerina Tikhonova, split up, but he is still worth around $800 million according to estimates from Bloomberg.  Shamalov’s father, Nikolai, had been sanctioned by the European Union following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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