US cites Russia's 'disregard for international norms', sanctions for meddling in 2016 polls, nerve agent attack in UK

Washington: The Treasury Department imposed new sanctions against 15 Russians over hacking, interference in US elections and a nerve agent attack in England.

File photo of US president Donald Trump. Reuters

File photo of US president Donald Trump. Reuters

In a separate action, the agency also announced plans to lift sanctions on the aluminium manufacturing giant Rusal. It comes after the department approved a plan that severed Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's control of the company.

The sanctions imposed on Wednesday include actions against nine Russian intelligence officers who were indicted over the summer and are accused of hacking into Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and releasing tens of thousands of private communications. The case against them was brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Treasury Department said Russia's "continued disregard for international norms" necessitated the sanctions. "The United States will continue to work with international allies and partners to take collective action to deter and defend against sustained malign activity by Russia, its proxies, and intelligence agencies," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Sanctions were also levied against Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who have been charged by British officials with the botched assassination attempt on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. Russian president Vladimir Putin has dismissed any insinuation his government was involved in the attack and has said Russia had no reason to attack Skripal.

The sanctions were also imposed on Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, who was charged by the Justice Department in October with running a Russian troll farm that prosecutors say was aimed at sowing division between Americans and interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

The sanctions would mean that any assets the targets have in the US could be frozen, and US companies and banks are generally prohibited from doing business with them.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2018 08:57 AM

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