Malign activity

Here’s a surprise: the Trump administration has thrown down some sanctions on Friends of Putin.

The US has imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 17 senior government officials, accusing them of “malign activity around the globe”.

Twelve companies owned by the oligarchs, the state arms exporter and a bank are also sanctioned.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties targeted those profiting from Russia’s “corrupt system”.

The move was a response to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, he said.

The sanctions are also being imposed because of the actions taken by the Kremlin in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, Mr Mnuchin said in a statement on Friday.

He accused the Russian government of “malicious” cyber-activities and said the sanctions would target “those who benefit from the Putin regime”.

Well. I can’t help thinking that will sour Trump’s friendship with Volodya.

Alexander Torshin, a senior Russian official with reported ties to the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), has been blacklisted.

Mr Putin’s bodyguard, his son-in-law, the head of Russia’s national security council, and former prime minister Viktor Zubkov are also sanctioned.

Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, one of the companies targeted, said the sanctions were designed to force Russia out of the global arms market.

Any assets they have under US jurisdiction have been frozen and US nationals are forbidden from doing to do business with them.

No that really doesn’t seem like something Putin will cheerfully embrace.

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