US releases list of Russians eligible for sanctions
WASHINGTON: The United States Treasury has released a long-awaited list of Russian officials and business leaders eligible for sanctions under a law designed to punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the election that brought President Donald Trump to power.
The list published yesterday features the names of most of the senior members in President Vladimir Putin's administration - 114 politicians altogether -and 96 business people the US considers oligarchs close to Mr Putin and worth at least US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) each.
The seven-page unclassified list, which does not trigger sanctions right away, features Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and top officials in Russian intelligence agencies.
Also on the list were the chief executives of big state-owned companies such as energy giant Rosneft and Sberbank.
The list was widely expected to infuriate Mr Putin and send shivers through his inner circle and Moscow's moneyed elite, threatening to cut them off from world finance.
Yesterday was the deadline for its release under a law passed last year by Congress over the objections of Mr Trump, who critics in the US say has been oddly reluctant to criticise Russia.
Under the same law, the State Department also declined to punish any US or foreign companies for dealings with Russian arms companies.
It argued this was not needed because governments around the world have already nixed billions in contracts with those Russian firms.
US lawmakers passed the law - called the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act - out of concern that Mr Trump, eager to have warm ties with Mr Putin, might not take tough action to punish Russian officials for interfering in the US election and destabilising Ukraine. - AFP