National Security & Defense

Trump Administration Implements New Russia Sanctions in Response to Election Interference and Cyber Attacks

Vladimir Putin and President Trump at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017. (Reuters photo: Jorge Silva)

The Trump administration announced Thursday it is implementing new sanctions against Russian entities and individuals for their roles in election meddling and cyberattacks, in what amounts to the starkest repudiation of the Putin regime since Trump’s election.

The new round of sanctions targets 19 individuals and five entities, including the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin funded digital-propaganda group that sowed discord in the American electorate during the 2016 race by posting incendiary content on social-media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

The announcement coincided with the release of a joint statement by the White House, Britain, France, and Germany chastising Russia for its suspected role in perpetrating a nerve-gas attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter living in the United Kingdom. In the statement, the allies voiced their support for the U.K. and affirmed their belief that Russia was responsible for the attack.

The move, which targets many of the same entities identified by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, comes roughly a month and a half after the administration missed a congressionally mandated deadline for imposing new sanctions in response to Russian election meddling.

The Trump administration was roundly criticized for failing to meet the deadline, stipulated by a bill passed and signed into law in August, with Democratic lawmakers accusing the White House of pandering to Putin.

In addition to election meddling, the sanctions announcement cited a number of cyber attacks, including a previously undisclosed Russian attempt to breach the U.S. energy grid.

“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyberactivity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”

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