U.S. imposes fresh sanctions on Russian entities

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk at the APEC Summit in Danang Vietnam

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk at the APEC Summit in Danang Vietnam

The United States government on Friday imposed sanctions against 24 Russians close to the country's President Vladimir Putin.

Russian state companies under the U.S. sanctions will receive additional government support, Interfax cited Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov as saying.

The punitive actions are the latest escalating step by the U.S. to punish Putin's inner circle for interfering in the 2016 election and other ongoing aggressions across the globe in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.

The US Department of Treasury has released an update to the sanctions against Russia, with seven Russian tycoons, 12 major companies and 17 government officials added to the Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN List). According to Washington, Moscow is to be punished for "a range of malign activity around the globe", including its reunification with Crimea, involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, support of President Bashar Assad in Syria, as well as "attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities".

On the London Stock Exchange, global depositary receipts of En+, an energy company majority-owned by Mr Deripaska, dropped by 19% on news of the sanctions.

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The United States' new anti-Russian sanctions cover those biggest Russian businesses that refuse to play to Washington's scenario, the Russian embassy in the United States said in a statement on Friday.

United States intelligence agencies say Russian Federation used hacking and propaganda in an effort eventually aimed at favoring Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Assets of those targeted in the United States have been blocked, and all USA -based entities are forbidden from doing business with them.

"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Last month, the US targeted 19 Russians and five other entities with sanctions in the first use of the law.

When BuzzFeed News contacted Kerimov's foundation in Switzerland, a spokesperson said the organization does not own the sites.

Numerous targets are individuals and businesses associated with Russia's energy sector, including those affiliated with state-owned Gazprom.

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"Washington continues to frighten with the rejection of American visas (and) threaten Russian business with freezing property and financial assets, forgetting that the seizure of private property and other people's money is called robbery", the statement said.

Deripaska has been targeted with U.S. sanctions previously, but officials said those being announced Friday were more comprehensive.

White House officials have noted that the administration has expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian consulates in response to Russian behavior, including the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain that has been blamed on Moscow.

Moscow said the new USA restrictions will be faced with "a firm response", urging Washington to "swiftly give up on the illusion that one can communicate with [Russia] using the language of sanctions".

Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs who was also named in Friday's sanctions list, called the U.S. announcement "another unjustified, unfriendly and meaningless step", state-run media RIA-Novosti reported.

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The target list includes some who are closely tied to Mr Putin himself, including top-tier officials involved in Kremlin decision-making and heads of the top state-controlled business entities.

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