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US slaps sanctions on Russians for poll meddling, cyber-attacks

The targeted individuals and entities included those indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the elections and related issues.

world Updated: Mar 15, 2018 21:51 IST
Yashwant Raj
File photo of US treSecretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin discusses the Trump administration's tax reform proposal in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File photo
File photo of US treSecretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin discusses the Trump administration's tax reform proposal in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File photo(Reuters )

The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against 19 Russian individuals and five entities for meddling in the 2016 elections and carrying out cyber-attacks in America and around the world, the treasury department said.

“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

He added that there will be additional sanctions

The targeted individuals and entities included those indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the elections and related issues.

The treasury’s list of sanctioned targets also included Russian intelligence services, the Federal Security Service (FSB) — the KGB’s successor — and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which is a military intelligence agency.

“The GRU was directly involved in interfering in the 2016 US election through cyber-enabled activities,” the treasury department said.

US intelligence has said Russians interfered in the 2016 elections to damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help her Republican rival Donald Trump win the White House. They also intended to engender disaffection among Americans for their political system.

The Thursday sanctions are also related to the February 15 NotPetya attack, a cyber-attack that the US and Britain had attributed to the Russian military. It was called one of the “most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history”.

Global shipping, trade, the production of medicines and other sectors were impacted around the wold leading to damages worth several billions.

These new sanctions are in addition to those already in place, which include measures linked to the Russian efforts to destabilise Ukraine and occupy Crimea and violation of the sanctions programme against North Korea.

As a result of the sanctions properties and assets held by the targeted individuals and entities in American jurisdiction will be blocked and they will be prohibited from travelling to the US.