On March 15, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced it is imposing new sanctions on Russia for alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
USA Today reports (source):
Among the five entities sanctioned by the Treasury Department Thursday is the Internet Research Agency, which was indicted by a grand jury last month as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian efforts. Officials say it’s a propaganda outfit that used fake identities to pose as Americans on social media, in order to sew divisiveness during the campaign.
It’s the first round of sanctions under a Russia sanctions bill passed by Congress last year — a bill President Trump signed only reluctantly in the face of a veto-proof congressional majority.
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner said the sanctions were long overdue.
“I think this is a good step. It is not fully sufficient,” Warner, D-Va., told MSNBC. “What continues to concern to me is that while you had the administration act, there continues to be a reluctance by the president himself to call out Russia as a bad actor.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new round of sanctions shows that the Trump administration is “confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure.”
The sanctions list includes 12 individuals who had previously been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller over the alleged electino interference: Mikhail Bystrov, Mikhail Burchik, Alexandra Krylova, Anna Bogacheva, Sergei Polozov, Maria Bovda, Robert Bovda, Jeyhun Aslanov, Vadim Podkopaev, Gleb Vasilchenko, Irina Kaverzina and Vladimir Venkov. Two more Russian citizens – Sergei Afanasyev and Grigory Molchanov – are also in the sanctions list.
Additionally, the US Treasury introduced restrictive measures against the Internet Research Agency. The US Justice Department accused this company of being involved in the election meddling in 2016.